It's convenient for NFL to cluck about Irsay now

It's convenient for NFL to cluck about Irsay now
June 16, 2014, 12:30 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

It’s easy and convenient for the NFL to tsk-tsk about Jim Irsay now.
 
I wonder how many in ownership or the league office had the courage and kindness to speak to him and not just about him the past few years if they were concerned about his behavior.
 
Last week, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft told a gathering in Boston that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has long believed one owner’s behavior doesn’t just impact his team, but all owners and the league.
 
“The first thing Roger said to the room after he had gotten elected was that the NFL shield is the heart of our organization, and that all of us have the responsibility not to besmirch it, and that starts with the owners,” Kraft said, according to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe.
 
“If you don’t carry yourself in a way and represent your business in a way that the public as a whole would deem as appropriate, there are going to be issues that affect your fellow partners. And that’s where I think these commissioners really do have a responsibility to make sure that the collective good is being maintained.”

That being the case, it would be revealing to know how many of the NFL's ownership "family" had a word with brother Jim.
 
Though Irsay maintained he’d been sober since 2002, his oft-addled Twitter feed was evidence that he could have used at least a few, “What’s going on with you?” conversations.

Like here. And here.
 
His physical appearance – from a barrel-chested guy in 2009 to stooped and haggard by last year – was steep and arresting.
 
It’s not Kraft or any other owner’s legal obligation to sit Irsay down and ask him a few uncomfortable questions. But it would have been humane. To be crass about it, asking Irsay some tough questions would have good for business too because it might have headed off the danger and embarrassment Irsay got himself into.
 
Certainly, Goodell and his staff should have been more than monitoring Irsay but working on him. Maybe they all did.
 
Nobody with addictions isn’t going to get right until they want it.
 
But there were plenty of signposts there. If you see something, you should say something. If not for the sake of the person who’s in a downward spiral, then for the almighty shield.