Goodell closer to disciplining Irsay

INDIANAPOLIS – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is seemingly a step closer to disciplining Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay now that his change of plea hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Irsay already has reached a plea agreement, according to the Indianapolis Star, which means Goodell is on the clock to discipline the owner shortly after the hearing.

The Colts organization and many players around the league will be keeping a very close eye on how Goodell handles Irsay.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was suspended Friday for nine games for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies. Smith was arrested in September 2013 for drunken driving. It was the second time he he had been arrested and charged with drunk driving since entering the league in 2011. Smith also had three felony gun charges dropped down to misdemeanors.

So now the question is: How will the commissioner discipline the owner? Will it simply be a number of games? A fine? Both? Neither?

Irsay was arrested March 16 near his home in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He had $29,000 in cash and "numerous" bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle at the time of his arrest, the police report said. Irsay also spent time in a rehabilitation facility after his arrest.

The NFL's personal conduct policy says that league representatives are held to a "higher standard" and "it is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime" in a legal situation to escape discipline.

If that’s the case, Irsay might be suspended for longer than Smith.

Players spoke out earlier this year, saying they believed there’s a double standard on how Goodell disciplines.

The players, like many others, are getting closer to finding out if there really is a double standard.