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Eric Winston: 'Players are watching' how Roger Goodell handles the Jim Irsay situation

Roger Goodell's handling of Jim Irsay situation will be watched by NFLPA Roger Goodell has developed a reputation for doling out swift, severe punishments. (David Bergman/SI)

This past week, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was officially charged with two misdemeanor counts of impaired driving in the wake of his arrest this past March. With the charges becoming official, it's now time for the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell to step in and figure out a punishment for the longtime Colts owner.

But just how harsh should that punishment be?

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According to NFLPA president Eric Winston who recently had a talk with Peter King for his MMQB column, Irsay, as an owner, should be held to a higher standard than players when it comes to his punishment. Furthermore, Winston also noted that players will be taking notice of how all of this is handled.

“Owners own for decades,” Winston told TheMMQB.com's Peter King. “Players, if we're lucky, might play for a decade. If protecting the shield is the most important thing, and owners are the ones most responsible for the league's future, the owners have to be held to a higher standard. So I don't understand how we can be talking about comparing the punishment of a player to what the league might do to an owner. Owners should be held to the highest of standards. And I can tell you, players are watching. A lot of players are watching. This has been on players' minds for quite a while.”
Since taking over for Paul Tagliabue as commissioner in September 2006, Goodell has built a reputation for not only coming down hard on players when they commit an off-the-field transgression, but coming down swiftly. So players will be watching what sort of punishment Goodell will hand Irsay and when.

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