Irsay: 'giving to others'

Dateline: Sun 06 Apr 2014

Fresh perspective in today's Indianapolis Star, thanks to excellent investigative reporting by Tim Evans and Mark Alesia, on Jim Irsay's many problems --- it seems the Colts owner's issues go beyond self-destructive drug use and into enabling another suffering addict, (who OD's March 1), and making questionable real estate purchases out of funds from the "Blue Trust" on behalf of his friend. The dead woman lived in the homes Irsay purchased, with money that the Colts say was for Irsay's personal use.

IU Law professor Gary Roberts cuts to the heart of the sordid mess, speaking of taxpayers' relationship to the team:

"It is one thing to subsidize a team so it can win on the field and to keep it in Indianapolis.

"It is another thing to subsidize an entity that uses its money to provide a home for the owner's (friend). That could turn public opinion."


There seems, however, to have been a plentitude of Hoosier good will towards Irsay in the past few weeks, based on letters to the editor in the Star and IBJ, as well as on-line comments. I quote from a letter to the IBJ, wherein reader Mark Winski of Denver praised IBJ publisher Greg Morris for his column detailing Irsay's good deeds and his appeal that we not judge. Winski says Morris put into "proper perspective a person's worth and contribution versus one's behavior. He aptly identified just some of the things Irsay has done in giving to others, and I'm sure he would agree that we know only a small portion of everything Irsay has done for others."

Too true! When this letter was published in Saturday's IBJ, we did not know that Irsay's generosity extended to providing three homes to a drug addict who OD'd March 1. Winski even praises attorney Jimmy Voyles who "stood up for and behind Irsay when the media reveled in a horrible invasion of Irsay's personal conflict." (!) How Winski fails to understand that Voyles is paid and paid well for his services as a criminal defense attorney is beyond me. Also, that Irsay is a public figure and woe to a press that would put Colts loyalty over coverage of Irsay's drug bust, driving while intoxicated, etc. (He has yet to be charged, according to Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana).

But the bigger point.

A friend who is a recovering alcoholic tells the story of the birth of his first child; the future father was not at the hospital with his wife and son, but in a bar, getting hammered.

He explained a mindset that most non-addicts do not understand: "There is nothing more important than using for the alcoholic (or addict). Everything is secondary to that." The enormous self-centeredness that powers addiction does indeed blot out principle, integrity, simple morality -- and of course, truth. 

Does this mean Irsay and other addicts are "bad people"? Of course not. But it does mean that in the throes of a raging addiction, which is in my view where Irsay has been for some time, bad choices are part of the scenario. In fact, there is almost nothing but bad, selfish, destructive, decisions being made.

Irsay has had a hard time getting re-habbed in the past. That also is not news -- relapse is common with addicts, just as enabling behavior is (speaking of him and the friend he put up in three homes).

We can all wish him recovery, but as others have said, this story deserves more reporting and more scrutiny. Frankly, I think we know enough already to determine that this guy deserves a lengthy suspension from football and a fine, and perhaps legal repercussions.

But that, in truth, is the least of his problems. 


hendy [Member] said:

A good therapist will tell you that people need to own their own emotions. Owning my tax dollars is something else. Subsidizing the various domes and venues to put lotsa dollars in the back pockets of businesses is an idea that ought to be stopped-- when it's paid from tax coffers. The Colts and every other sports franchise needs to stand on its own feet, and not become part of the socialism of sports. I don't begrudge the players and staff, rather, the politicians that subvert public trust with tax investments in private business schemes.

2014-04-06 20:51:40

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