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Gene Frenette: Heavy-handed NFL can't go light on Jim Irsay

Posted: May 23, 2014 - 8:30pm  |  Updated: May 23, 2014 - 11:53pm

The longer NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell waits on deciding whether to punish Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay under the league’s personal conduct policy, the more it creates a perception — and perhaps a double standard — that Goodell is looking to be more lenient on one of his 32 bosses than on players.

It’s been two months since Irsay was arrested during a traffic stop, leaving many to wonder if Goodell intends to penalize him. On Friday, Irsay was charged with two misdemeanor counts stemming from the intoxicated driving arrest near his home.

In 2010, Goodell suspended Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for six games (later reduced to four) under the league’s personal conduct policy after authorities decided not to pursue criminal charges from a sexual assault allegation.

Goodell says he’s waiting for the legal process to play out with Irsay, but it’s rightfully not going over well with the players’ association. Owners must be held to a tougher standard than players because of their position. They set the tone for their organizations. Irsay admitted being addicted to painkillers, and his arrest was a huge embarrassment to the Colts and the NFL. Goodell, who has also not ruled on penalties for troubled players Aldon Smith and Ray Rice, better bring the hammer down soon. And if not, be prepared for the public relations backlash. …

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban used a poor analogy about “black kids in a hoodie” during an interview about stereotypes and prejudice, resulting in a quick apology to the family of Trayvon Martin. But anyone who concludes that Cuban’s brutal honesty makes him racist is taking a big leap. The context of his remarks deserved more applause than ridicule. …

I’d be surprised if Tiger Woods played in any of the four majors in 2014 for this reason: The back surgery he had could jeopardize his long-term health if he comes back too soon. Being a competitor is one thing, taking medical risks that could torpedo his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 majors is another. …

Give credit to Rory McIlroy, who broke off his engagement to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, for recognizing before walking down the aisle that he wasn’t ready for marital responsibility. It’s a lesson you-know-who never quite grasped. …

When former Bolles standout DJ Stewart won ACC player of the year honors, the Florida State outfielder became the first high school player from Jacksonville to capture that award in its 45-year history. …

The huge drop taken by University of North Florida baseball, from 40-19 last year to 22-31 this season, was mostly injury-related. UNF lost several key players, including ace pitcher Tyler Moore, first baseman Ryan Roberson and outfielder Donnie Dewees, to early season-ending injuries. The train wreck turned Smoke Laval’s team from an A-Sun contender into one that finished eighth in the league.

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Davethecaveman
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Davethecaveman 05/24/14 - 06:33 am
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The media controls these so

The media controls these so called backlashes on sports figures, not the public.
Cuban was brutally honest. He should not have had to apologize to anyone for speaking his mind in America, but in these days of being politically correct is cool and being an owner of a sports franchise, why not? Play the silly game and get on with your life.

saltmarsh cracker
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saltmarsh cracker 05/23/14 - 08:59 pm
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Do you think Irsay is fit to

Do you think Irsay is fit to continue as an owner?

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