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Rozelle Contradicts Trump’s Testimony

Pete Rozelle, commissioner of the National Football League, wound up the NFL’s defense in the trial of the United States Football League’s antitrust suit Thursday, testifying that Donald Trump offered to drop the suit and sell his USFL New Jersey Generals to “some stiff” if Rozelle would grant him an NFL expansion franchise.

Rozelle discussed his meeting with Trump on May 12, 1984, at the Pierre Hotel in New York. His version contradicted Trump’s earlier testimony almost point by point.

Rozelle said the meeting was suggested by Trump in a phone call to Rozelle’s office.

At the meeting, Rozelle said, Trump told him he had been assigned by the USFL to develop the antitrust suit.

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“He said, ‘I want an NFL expansion team in New York,’ ” Rozelle testified. “And he said, and I’m quoting him exactly, ‘I would get some stiff to buy the Generals, my team in the USFL.’ ”

According to Trump’s version, it was Rozelle who instigated the meeting. Trump also said it was Rozelle who offered him a franchise if Trump would drop the antitrust suit and keep the USFL a spring league instead of switching to the fall, as the league did after three seasons.

The $1.69-billion suit, being heard in New York, is expected to go to the jury next Thursday.


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