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Authors: Dan E. Moldea

Interference

BOOK: Interference
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Also by Dan E. Moldea

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The Hunting of Cain: A True Story of Money, Greed, and Fratricide

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The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy: An Investigation of Motive, Means, and Opportunity

Evidence Dismissed: The Inside Story of the Police Investigation of O. J. Simpson

A Washington Tragedy: How the Death of Vincent Foster Ignited a Political Firestorm

Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer: Adventures in the Jungle of Crime, Politics, and Journalism

Interference

How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football

Dan E. Moldea

With a New Afterword by the Author

To Mimi

Contents

Introduction

PROLOGUE: Dealing with Myths

1. On Fixing Games and Inside Information

2. Getting Organized

3. The Old Days with the Old Gang

4. The Baugh Surveillance

5. The Big Fix

6. The Wire Services

7. Boss Colt

8. Growing Pains

9. Winning Some and Losing Some

10. A New Commissioner

11. Murchison, Modell, and Ford Buy In

12. The Gambling Scandal Erupts

13. The Party Bus

14. Rosenbloom in the Bahamas

15. Football and Hollywood

16. “The Quarterback”

17. Gil Beckley and the Layoff

18. Bill Hundley and NFL Security

19. Seven Arts, Bobby Baker, and Mary Carter

20. The Kansas City Shuffle

21. The Outlaw Line

22. Broadway Joe

23. Lenny Dawson on the Brink

24. Restaurants and Hotels

25. The Heir Apparent

26. “Points of Contact”

27. Operation Anvil

28. Façades of Legitimacy

29. Foreshadowing a Drug Problem

30. The Bad, the Worse, and the Ugly

31. Davis's Dilemma

32. Colonel Culverhouse and Major Realty

33. On the Principal Subjects List

34. The Quiet Man

35. More Players and Bookmakers

36. Car Dealers' Bonanza

37. The Bagman

38. Rosenbloom's Fatal Swim

39. Cobra in a Sunbonnet

40. At War: Rosenthal and Spilotro

41. Appearances and Realities

42. Cranking Up the Drug Problem

43. The
Frontline
Controversy

44. The Double Standard

45. Gambling or Drugs?

46. The Computer Group

47. Oddsmaker

48. “I'm so fucking glad I'm out”

49. Trouble in Paradise

50. Rozelle Gets Tough on Players

51. Crime and Punishment

52. The Las Vegas and Outlaw Lines Today

EPILOGUE: ON LEGALIZING SPORTS GAMBLING

AFTERWORD

NOTES TO AFTERWORD

NOTES

INDEX

GLOSSARY

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Among the types of conduct detrimental to the NFL and professional football that call for serious penalties are the following:

1. Accepting a bribe or agreeing to throw or fix a game or to illegally influence its outcome.

2. Failing to promptly report any bribe offer or any attempt to throw or fix a game or to illegally influence its outcome.

3. Betting on any NFL game.

4. Associating with gamblers or with gambling activities in a manner tending to bring discredit to the NFL.

Any such conduct may result in severe penalties, up to and including a fine and/or suspension from the NFL for life.

NFL COMMISSIONER PETE ROZELLE

Introduction

I

We the people seem to have the freest book trade in the world. Certainly we have the biggest. Cruise the mighty Amazon, and you will see so many books for sale in the United States today as would require more than four hundred miles of shelving to display them—a bookshelf that would stretch from Boston's Old North Church to Fort McHenry in South Baltimore.

Surely that huge catalog is proof of our extraordinary freedom of expression: The US government does not ban books, because the First Amendment won't allow it. While books are widely banned in states like China and Iran,
no
book may be forbidden by the US government
at any level
(although the CIA censors books by former officers). Where books
are
banned in the United States, the censors tend to be private organizations-church groups, school boards, and other local (busy)bodies roused to purify the public schools or libraries nearby.

Despite such local prohibitions, we can surely find any book we want. After all, it's easy to locate those hot works that once
were
banned by the government as too “obscene” to sell, or mail, until the courts ruled otherwise on First Amendment grounds—
Fanny Hill, Howl, Naked Lunch
. We also have no trouble finding books banned here and there as “antifamily,” “Satanic,” “racist,” and/or “filthy,” from
Huckleberry Finn to Heather Has Two Mommies
to the Harry Potter series, just to name a few.

II

And yet, the fact that those bold books are all in print, and widely read, does not mean that we have the freest book trade in the world. On the contrary: For over half a century, America's vast literary culture has been disparately policed, and imperceptibly contained, by state and corporate entities well placed and perfectly equipped to wipe out wayward writings. Their ad hoc suppressions through the years have been far more effectual than those quixotic bans imposed on classics like
The Catcher in the Rye
and
Fahrenheit 451
. For every one of those bestsellers scandalously purged from some provincial school curriculum, there are many others (we can't know how many) that have been so thoroughly erased that few of us, if any, can remember them, or have ever heard of them.

How have all those books (to quote George Orwell) “dropped into the memory hole” in these United States? As America does
not
ban books, other means—less evident, and so less controversial—have been deployed to vaporize them. Some almost never made it into print, as publishers were privately warned off them from on high, either on the grounds of “national security” or with blunt threats of endless corporate litigation. Other books were signed enthusiastically—then “dumped,” as their own publishers mysteriously failed to market them, or even properly distribute them. But it has mainly been the press that stamps out inconvenient books, either by ignoring them, or—most often—laughing them off as “conspiracy theory,” despite their soundness (or because of it).

Once out of print, those books are gone. Even if some few of us have not forgotten them, and one might find used copies here and there, these books have disappeared. Missing from the shelves and never mentioned in the press (and seldom mentioned even in our schools), each book thus neutralized might just as well have been destroyed en masse—or never written in the first place, for all their contribution to the public good.

III

The purpose of this series is to bring such vanished books to life—first life for those that never saw the light of day, or barely did, and second life for those that got some notice, or even made a splash, then slipped too quickly out of print, and out of mind.

These books, by and large, were made to disappear, or were hastily forgotten, not because they were too lewd, heretical, or unpatriotic for some touchy group of citizens.
These
books sank without a trace, or faded fast, because they tell the sort of truths that Madison and Jefferson believed our Constitution should protect—truths that the people have the right to know, and needs to know, about our government and other powers that keep us in the dark.

Thus the works on our Forbidden Bookshelf shed new light—for most of us, it's
still
new light—on the most troubling trends and episodes in US history, especially since World War II: America's broad use of former Nazis and ex-Fascists in the Cold War; the Kennedy assassinations, and the murders of Martin Luther King Jr., Orlando Letelier, George Polk, and Paul Wellstone; Ronald Reagan's Mafia connections, Richard Nixon's close relationship with Jimmy Hoffa, and the mob's grip on the NFL; America's terroristic Phoenix Program in Vietnam, US support for South America's most brutal tyrannies, and CIA involvement in the Middle East; the secret histories of DuPont, ITT, and other giant US corporations; and the long war waged by Wall Street and its allies in real estate on New York City's poor and middle class.

The many vanished books on these forbidden subjects (among others) altogether constitute a shadow history of America—a history that We the People need to know at last, our country having now become a land with billionaires in charge, and millions not allowed to vote, and everybody under full surveillance. Through this series, we intend to pull that necessary history from the shadows at long last—to shed some light on how America got here, and how we might now take it somewhere else.

Mark Crispin Miller

Prologue:

Dealing with Myths

YEARS BEFORE HE BECAME president of the United States, actor Ronald Reagan portrayed Notre Dame's George Gipp in the 1940 Warner Brothers movie
Knute Rockne
—
All-American
. Gipp had died of pneumonia in December 1920 after an illustrious college football career. His purported deathbed request to Rockne, “Win just one for the Gipper,” was used during a locker room pep talk and helped to inspire Rockne's 1928 team in its upset victory against Army. And, as the Gipper incarnate, Reagan used the line to inspire voters to elect him to the California governor's mansion and later the White House. To those who saw the movie and listened to Reagan utter those now-famous words, Gipp epitomized the virtues of good character, sportsmanship, and “the right way of living.”

History, however, now shows that Gipp, a man of truly questionable moral values, probably never made any such request on or off his deathbed; that Rockne, who was known for grasping at anything to incite his players, had fabricated the incident; and that Reagan's movie further embellished the Gipp/Rockne charade.

Hollywood, which is notorious for cooking up such fantasies as the Gipp/Rockne story, realizes that most Americans view sports as a vehicle of inspiration and entertainment. Thus, sports history is routinely manipulated. Left unquestioned, stories like that of the Gipper become permanent fixtures of Americana. Regardless of the facts, the American public continues to believe
the legend of George Gipp's deathbed request to Knute Rockne.

The difficulties in debunking the myth about one college coach and one of his players is an indication of the problems in dispelling the legends about an entire institution, particularly one as popular as football. Powerful forces in America have built empires around these myths; and the preservation of these empires and the personal wealth of those who own them depend upon the maintenance of the legends.

In the Reagan movie myth of the lives of Rockne and Gipp, there is one scene in which Rockne chases away a gambler who is looking for an edge. Rockne, played by actor Pat O'Brien, tells him, “We haven't got any use for gamblers around here. You've done your best to ruin baseball and horse racing. This is one game that's clean and it's going to stay clean.”

Considering that Gipp, with the knowledge of Rockne, was a notorious sports gambler, the O'Brien quote perhaps best illustrates my point.
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