DeMaurice Smith said that he and NFL players believe there is a double standard in punishment. (Larry French/Getty)
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has gone on the offensive against commissioner Roger Goodell and his handling of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay's arrest in March. In an interview with ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, Smith said players wanted to know why Irsay, who was arrested for allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated, has not yet been disciplined. Irsay was found with $29,000 and bottles of prescription drugs in his car.
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In the interview, Smith claimed that Goodell's handling of Irsay's arrest created a "credibility gap" in the commissioner's office. More Smith:
I think what troubles our players is the speed and the deliberateness of punishment that they have seen in the past when it comes to a player. There isn't the same speed or deliberate action when it comes to an owner, and that's a problem.
Smith is not the only one to criticize Goodell on the matter. Washington Redskins safety Ryan Clark told ESPN last Wednesday, "Right now, if Jim Irsay is going to represent this league, represent the Indianapolis Colts, going to be on TV at the owners meetings, trying to bring a Super Bowl to Indianapolis after what he’s done? It shows the hypocrisy of the NFL and also Roger Goodell in the way that he deals with players and the way he deals for the people he works for."
Irsay was charged last Friday with misdemeanor counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance. His hearing is scheduled to begin on June 19.