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Rozelle: NFL Used Lie Detector

By E.j. Dionne

National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle acknowledged Sunday that lie detector tests were administered to club owners in an investigation of gambling on professional football games.

Interviewed on CBS-TV's "Face the Nation," Rozelle said the tests were not restricted to players, but were also given to owners. He added that the owners established their innocence to the satisfaction of the league. Rozelle has previously fined and suspended players for gambling.

"If an owner were proven guilty of gambling, according to league rules, he would be suspended from the NFL," Rozelle said.

The League boss repeated his denouncement of the expansion of off-track betting to include all sports, especially football, where wagering is considered widespread.

"No amount of money given to the teams, etc., could justify legalizing betting on football games," Rozelle said. "As things stand now, you have the states in partnership with the tracks. Would that mean the states could give urinanalysis and other things like that to athletes?

"I don't want to see the day when a whole generation of fans exists which will sit in a stadium and boo a home team for sitting on a four-point lead and not covering the spread," he said.

Christmas Games

Rozelle also said "there was no way" the NFL could have avoided playing games on Christmas day.

"We were cut by the calendar," Rozelle said. "If we were to manipulate the schedule to exclude Christmas games, teams would not have had sufficient preparation, late afternoon games would have resulted, and nearly everyone would have been inconvenienced.

"There was, however, no monetary bearing on it since our TV contract has two more years to run," he added.

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