What's buzzing:

NBC on Yahoo Sports

Jim Irsay makes case for compassion as to players

Indianapolis Colts' owner opens up about his alcoholism

NBC on Yahoo Sports

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

The interview given by Colts owner Jim Irsay to Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star said plenty, whether Irsay intended to or not.

Setting aside for now the obvious curiosity regarding his refusal to apologize even for creating a distraction regardless of ultimate criminal liability, Irsay made a strong case for reconsidering a substance-abuse program that eventually dumps from the sport men who have not a habit but a disease.

“These diseases, both alcoholism and addiction, much like bipolar or depression and different illnesses, are still not seen as real diseases,” Irsay told Kravitz.  “People shy away from seeking help because it’s viewed as being somewhat morally off the path, that they’ve lost their way.  I really think the disease aspect gets lost when you’re talking about alcoholism and addiction; it’s not like you’re battling leukemia or a heart problem; it is that.  But even in 2014, there’s still this stigma.

“That stigma gets carried forward and it’s unfortunate because people die and families get affected and people don’t seek treatment. It’s an unusual disease in the sense that the person has to diagnose himself.  He has to realize that there’s this genetic disease you have to deal with through treatment.  My grandfather and father both died of the disease, and you realize you’ve spent a lot of time on this path.  Certainly, I have.”

So have players like Justin Blackmon, Daryl Washington, and Josh Gordon, among others.  While the league indeed makes available treatment options for players who have tested positive and those who haven’t, treatment isn’t foolproof.  If it fails to cure the disease, the player eventually becomes banished.

For Irsay, who explained that he has agreed to random testing to be administered by the local prosecutor with results sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the question becomes whether, if the disease persists despite the best efforts of all involved, Irsay will be treated like a player who can’t beat the illness — kicked out of the league for at least a year.

Regardless of any suspension or other sanction imposed on Irsay, failure to apply the same beat-the-disease-or-else mandate to him will mean that Irsay necessarily has had a lower standard applied to him.

- ProFootball Talk, NBC Sports

View Comments (2)
  • Police: Missing college athlete died on Los Angeles freeway

    A University of California, Berkeley soccer player who disappeared after a weekend party was killed by a car as he ran across a Los Angeles freeway, police said Monday. The 19-year-old freshman, Eloi (eh-loy) Vasquez, died early Saturday on … More »

    AP - Sports - 8 minutes ago
  • FA end plan for combined British team at Rio Games - report

    FA end plan for combined British team at Rio Games - report

    The English Football Association have scrapped plans to send a combined British football team to compete at next year's Rio de Janeiro Olympics because of opposition from other home nations, the BBC reported on Monday. The BBC said the FA had … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago
  • Nats closer Storen out with toe blister

    Washington Nationals closer Drew Storen exited early because of a blister on his right big toe Monday in a 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Storen issued a two-out walk to Kolten Wong, then left the mound in the sixth inning. ''You start … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 minutes ago
  • Coaches parlay NCAA tournament into big bucks

    Coaches parlay NCAA tournament into big bucks

    For some coaches, qualifying for the field of 68 is not just a boost for the program – it eventually boosts the bank account. Here's a look at some coaches whose recent tournament success or mere presence in the field have led to new jobs or … More »

    5 hours ago
  • Zunino's bat, Walker's arm lead Mariners over Angels

    Zunino's bat, Walker's arm lead Mariners over Angels

    PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -- Mike Zunino homered and doubled, Taijuan Walker pitched seven impressive innings and the Seattle Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-3 Monday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 20 minutes ago