New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The NFL suspended Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay six games and fined him $500,000 on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty in Indiana to a misdemeanor charge of impaired driving.
Irsay entered his plea in Hamilton County court and was sentenced to a year of probation and mandatory drug tests. He had previously pleaded not guilty to a pair of misdemeanors stemming from a traffic stop in March.
The NFL issued its punishment under the league's personal conduct policy. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a letter to Irsay that "owners, management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players."
Goodell said Irsay expressed support for that viewpoint in a meeting and had volunteered that "owners should be held to the highest standard."
Irsay was fined the maximum amount allowed under NFL rules. The Colts avoided any competitive sanctions, such as the loss of a draft pick, because Irsay's conduct "did not have competitive consequences," the league said.
He is eligible to return following Indianapolis' game in Houston on Oct. 9. The Colts open their season Sunday night in Denver.
While he is suspended, Irsay "may not be present at the club's facility, may not attend any practices or games, may not represent the club at league or league committee meetings or at any other team or league event, and may not conduct media interviews or engage in social media regarding any team or league matters," the NFL said.
Police in Carmel, Indiana, said Irsay was stopped on March 16 after driving at a slow rate of speed and failing to signal a turn. He failed several field sobriety tests and was taken into custody.
A toxicology report showed on Tuesday that Irsay had two painkillers in his system, according to the Indianapolis Star.
The paper said Irsay's probation includes mandatory drug tests. Irsay will face a felony charge if he is arrested again for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
The NFL noted in its news release that Irsay "will be subject to ongoing treatment, counseling, and testing as determined by medical professionals and the Indiana court."