Ryan Clark blasts Goodell, NFL for 'hypocrisy' over not punishing Irsay
MAY 21, 2014 3:15p ET
Washington Redskins safety Ryan Clark was not shy Wednesday about summing up how current NFL players view the league and commissioner, criticizing Roger Goodell for "hypocrisy" over not punishing Colts owner Jim Irsay over his arrest in March.
The 12-year NFL veteran lashed out publicly on the heels of Irsay attending the NFL owners meetings Monday in Atlanta to make the official pitch as Indianapolis presented its case to host the 2018 Super Bowl, which was awarded to Minnesota.
"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," Clark said on ESPN's "First Take."
Irsay said he was "feeling decent" Monday after first public appearance since his arrest on March 16 for having $29,000 in cash and bottles of prescription drugs in his car. Irsay faces four felony counts of possession of controlled substances.
''I'm here, if you want to talk about the Super Bowl bid or the Colts, I'm here to answer that,'' Irsay said. ''I'm not going to really say anything beyond that.''
Clearly, Irsay's public appearance bothered Clark, a former teammate of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethisberger, who was suspended for six games (later reduced to four) in 2010 for violating the league's personal conduct policy after being accused of sexual assault.
"So when has having enough information been what Roger Goodell waits for to make these decisions?" Clark said. "When does a charge necessarily warrant the penalty? We've seen in so many cases, Roger Goodell be judge and jury when it comes to players.
"So here we have Jim Irsay, a guy, an owner, who has history of substance abuse, who's found in a car with over $29K and prescription drugs that weren't in his name, pulled over for driving under the influence, and now we're saying we need more information? What more information do we need than these aren't your prescription pills? You're obviously under the influence. You have $29K. There would be no questions asked if this was a player.
"He's (Goodell's) always said, 'Well, I don't work for the owners.' That's not true. Because in the CBA negotiations, you were sitting with the owners."
Irsay said he's kept informed on team affairs, although the Colts are being run by his daughter, Carlie, and general manager Ryan Grigson.
''I haven't been in a coma or anything like that,'' Irsay said. ''I've been clued into everything that's been going on the last few months. It's good to be at this meeting, really kind of focus on the Super Bowl bid. I'm really not going to talk about any personal medical issues or that sort of thing, but just grateful to be back, and certainly have a lot of appreciation for the support I've received. I'm all in."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.