On Jan. 16, NBC's Huntley-Brinkley Report aired an interview with Karras in which the burly, sardonic lineman admitted to reporter Ed Burk that he'd bet on games, and bet occasionally on his own team. Rozelle had spoken to Karras two weeks earlier, but after the news program aired that evening, he summoned Karras back to New York immediately. He was in Rozelle's office at 11 o'clock the next morning.
There was, by then, enough evidence to discipline both players. But Rozelle pressed forward with his investigation for two more months amid speculation in the media about the gravity of the charges and criticism of his own persistent refusal to comment. One of the central principles of public relations, instilled in Rozelle during his years with the San Francisco--based public relations firm of P. K. Macker and Co., was the value of full disclosure: Nothing was more damaging to an organization's credibility than to make a partial admission, then be forced to come back later to confirm more charges. Only in April, after exhausting all angles, was he satisfied that the matter had been investigated thoroughly enough.
On the morning of April 17, he called Hornung's home in Louisville. Hornung's mother answered and said her son was away. "Is there anything I can tell Paul?" she asked.
Rozelle choked up trying to answer her, but managed to say, "No, ma'am. If you'll just have Paul call me."
Later that afternoon, he spoke with both Hornung and Karras by phone, informing each man that he would be suspended indefinitely but could apply for reinstatement in one year.
Bunkered in the league offices, Rozelle and his most trusted aide, league publicity director Jim Kensil, had spent more than two days hammering out the press release, an artfully constructed eight-page document that opened with a staunch defense of the game's integrity.
There is no evidence that any NFL player has given less than his best in playing any game.
There is no evidence that any player has ever bet against his own team.
There is no evidence that any NFL player has sold information to gamblers.
There is clear evidence that some NFL players knowingly carried on undesirable associations which in some instances led to their betting on their own team to win and/or other National Football League games.