In March 2014, police in Carmel, Ind., pulled Irsay over for driving slowly, stopping in the road and failing to use the turn signal in his car. When police asked him to take a roadside sobriety test, he failed multiple times. Police also found prescription drugs in pill bottles and $29,000 in cash when they searched Irsay’s car.
Six months after his arrest, Irsay pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor offense of operating a vehicle under the influence, and he served a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy before returning to the franchise.
Now, the longtime Colts owner reveals he believes he was arrested because of his wealth and ethnicity.
“I am prejudiced against because I’m a rich, white billionaire,” Irsay said during an interview with HBO Sports that aired Tuesday. “If I’m just the average guy down the block, they’re not pulling me in, of course not.”
During the interview, Irsay said he failed the sobriety tests because he had recently undergone hip surgery at the time of his arrest and called it “wrong.” After Irsay took multiple sobriety tests, a toxicology report showed that he had drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and alprazolam in his system.
“I had just had hip surgery, and had been in the car for 45 minutes,” Irsay said. “… They asked me to walk the line? Are you kidding me? I can barely walk at all.”
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is grateful to be alive after years of addiction nearly destroyed him. In his first in-depth interview, Irsay details his painful journey with our @Andrea_Kremer. The new episode of #RealSports streams tomorrow, only on @streamonmax. pic.twitter.com/TQ2Tq2Vcle— Real Sports (@RealSportsHBO) November 20, 2023
Although Irsay has spoken on several occasions about his issues with addiction, the 64-year-old said he chose to plead guilty in his arrest to “get it over with” and that he did not care about what people thought of him at the time.
“I could give a damn what people think how anything sounds or sounds like,” Irsay said. “The truth is the truth, and I know the truth.”