The Jim Irsay addiction saga took an unexpected step. The Indianapolis Colts owner was arrested on four felony accounts, including possession of a controlled substance and driving while impaired.
This is a good thing.
Before burning me at the stake, hear me out.
First, this would be drastically different if he or someone else had been injured during the process. That would—obviously—have been tragic.
Second, those close to him have been hoping that this day would come before his funeral.
Jim Irsay’s addiction problems have been well known to those close to the organization. It has not been glamorous, by any means. He has lost approximately 70 pounds. He has struggled with addiction in the past, and has seen more than one drug and alcohol treatment center.
However, this can also be the third good thing.
To say Irsay is powerful and rich is an understatement. However, as we all now know, that still has not saved him from the ravages of addiction.
We are pulling for him, just as we would any addict or alcoholic. With his status, though, if he finds recovery, he will be a beacon to those suffering from the same struggles. That could be the rich and successful, but it could also serve as a shift from the über-macho locker-room culture in sports that shuns what it perceives as weakness.
That shift, in and of itself, could lead to a greater social shift in recognizing that addiction is not a reflection of the person, but rather it is a disease that affects all strata of society—and that asking for help is not only okay, but it is encouraged.
Addiction is not something to be swept under the rug. Injuries on the playing field are widely acknowledged and support given. Sometimes it works out; other times, it does not. In either event, though, fans and rivals alike generally wish and pray for the best for that person.
Addiction is often relegated to the realm of uncomfortable silence and always-understood-but-never-stated. It is well-beyond time for that to change. The unsettling truth of the matter is that this was a highly suspected problem. It was so widely suspected that it was essentially a given.
Arrests can often serve as a wakeup-call, but that does not mean it needs to get to that point. Sure, it makes the problem unavoidable, but often times “unavoidable” is “too late.” That might not be the case here, but for many, it is.
For the NFL as well as Jim Irsay addiction is a tough issue. What is a suitable punishment? He broke the law. That much is clear. However, how do you deliver an adequate message, without scaring away those who may be on the fence about seeking help themselves?
Maybe that is the problem: we like things clearly defined and lain out. Unfortunately, that rarely happens with addiction.
Jim Irsay Addiction Struggles
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below!