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When former Oilers quarterback Ken Stabler sued The New York Times and NBC for $20 million | Strange but true

A look back at August 27, 1982.
Credit: Associated Press
When an Oilers quarterback Ken Stabler sued The New York Times and NBC for $20 million | Strange But True

HOUSTON — Before coming to Houston, he was a Raider. A villain, but not a cheater. He then sued to clear his name.

It's August 27, 1982, and in Houston federal court, former Oilers quarterback Ken Stabler sues The New York Times and NBC, asking for $20 million.

“This suit is a libel and slander suit,” lawyer Craig Ball told KHOU 11 News in 1982.

ALSO READ: When the Astros drafted football quarterback Ken Stabler

The suit is in response to news stories from the year before linking Stabler to a convicted bookie from New Jersey: a possible violation of the National Football League’s constitution, which states players who knowingly associate with gamblers may be fined, suspended or booted from the league. 

The lawsuit also claims a television news clip aired by NBC suggests Stabler once shaved points: Playing poorly intentionally to appease gamblers.

Stabler had been under surveillance in Houston, law enforcement sources told The New York Times, though nothing ever came of it.

In the end, the NFL determines Stabler didn't break any of its rules.

And the lawsuit? It’s over in 1985. Stabler drops his case against the newspaper and settles with NBC.

“Mr. Stabler is not guilty of anything,” Ball tells UPI.

How much money does Stabler get from NBC? Its confidential, but "Mr. Stabler is very satisfied and happy,” adds Ball.

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