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Lions Protest NFL’s Suspension of Karras

Apr. 17, 1963 - The Detroit Lions today protested “very harsh and severe” fines and suspensions imposed by the NFL in an anti-gambling crackdown. Alex Karras, a tackle, was suspended indefinitely along with Paul Hornung, Green Bay Packer star, for betting on games and for association with “known hoodlums.” Karras said he wished to appeal the ruling by Commissioner Pete Rozelle. “This is guilt by association and innuendo. I’m not guilty, and I’ve done nothing to be ashamed of,” Karras said after a top-level meeting of Lions officials. Karras said he didn’t know whether the suspension would prevent him from playing in the Canadian pro football league. “I haven’t checked into that,” he said. The Canadian league later announced they would not take either man. “We put Karras on our negotiation list in January when we got wind of this situation, but we didn’t know how serious it was then,” said general manager Red O’Quinn of the Ottawa Rough Riders. In Detroit, Karras said he will probably spend the year working as a bartender in a Detroit bar of which he is part owner. The bar is being moved to a new location, and his NFL suspension could result in a denial of the liquor license transfer. The former University of Iowa star may also go back to pro wrestling. He once wrestled professionally as “Killer Karras” and is going to wrestle Dick the Bruiser in two weeks. He has been promised future matches if he makes a good showing. Karras said he figured the suspension would be for life. William Clay Ford, the Lions’ president, said Rozelle’s ruling was “slow in coming and rough when it got here. We didn’t think it would be as rough as this.” Although Ford said no appeal is allowed because the decision of the commissioner is final, Karras said he planned to make some sort of protest. “But I don’t want to talk with Rozelle anymore. I’ve done enough talking with him,” said Karras.


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