If you’ve ever thought that billionaires might be out of touch with society then Colts owner Jim Irsay just raised the bar higher than you could possibly imagine. Appearing on Real Sports with Bryant Gumble on Tuesday night, Irsay said that his 2014 DUI arrest was because he was “prejudiced against because I’m a rich, white billionaire.”
Irsay was arrested by Carmel, Indiana police in March of 2014 after he was pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence. The Colts owner failed numerous field sobriety tests, and upon a routine search of his vehicle police found numerous pill bottles containing Schedule IV narcotics. Irsay was charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, and four felony counts for possession of a controlled substance.
However Irsay told Andrea Kremer his arrest was actually because he’s a rich white man.
Here’s the HBO clip where Colts owner Jim Irsay claims Carmel police were prejudiced against him during a DUI arrest for being “a rich, white billionaire”: pic.twitter.com/o2UywtFfMk
— Nate Atkins (@NateAtkins_) November 22, 2023
“I am prejudiced against because I’m a rich, white billionaire. If I’m just the average guy down the block, they’re not pulling me in, of course not.”
When Kremer pushed back Irsay doubled down on the statement, asserting that it was the truth, and nothing would convince him otherwise. This is, to be blunt, absolute bullshit.
I didn’t need to tell you how ludicrous it is to assert that the real reason you got pulled over was because you’re a white billionaire, and not — I don’t know, swerving while driving with a bunch of unmarked pills in your car. Irsay is certainly entitled to his opinion, however hilariously wrong it is, there is no point or fact that supports Irsay’s claim.
A report on arrest demographics in Indiana showed that in 2014 white individuals had an arrest rate of 24.8 per 1,000 individuals, while black individuals were arrested at over three times the rate (78.2 per 1,000).
A 2019 study by the Prison Policy Initiative showed that poverty is a colossal factor in arrests. An overwhelming number of arrests happen among people who have a yearly net income of less than $10,000.
In a 2020 blog from Forensic Colleges three case studies were used to explicitly show how white millionaires are routinely impacted less by the justice system than other individuals. This is attributed to their ability to hire quality legal representation, bail being less of a personal impact, and the legal system as a whole disproportionately benefiting wealthy white individuals in arrest scenarios.
So, to be abundantly clear, Irsay’s “truth” is a lie. Now, there is a chance he did face discrimination — but not because he was a white billionaire. That 2019 study by the Prison Policy Initiative cited above shows that people who suffer from addiction are much more likely to be arrested that those who don’t.
If anything, that’s the biggest factor in why Irsay was booked in 2014 — not some ridiculous theory it’s because he’s a marginalized rich white man.