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Irsay Says He Will File Lawsuit Over Story in Sports Illustrated

December 15, 1986

Indianapolis Colts owner Robert Irsay said his lawyers are prepared to file a $100-million lawsuit against the publisher of Sports Illustrated over an article on Irsay in the magazine's current issue.

Irsay announced plans to sue Time Inc. during a visit to the Colts' locker room after his team defeated the Buffalo Bills, 24-14, Sunday.

"It's untrue," Irsay said of the article written by E.M. Swift. "We'll be filing a $100-million suit against them Monday. And a federal judge in Chicago will get the court case, and I've got all the papers to prove they're almost all wrong."

"Sports Illustrated will stand totally behind its story," Managing Editor Mark Mulvoy said. "In publishing its story, Sports Illustrated has followed to the letter all its fact-checking procedures and went through the test of every legal check in the legal operation."

Irsay has been quoted in Chicago papers as saying he was with the Marine Corps during World War II, was wounded in the leg by a grenade explosion in New Guinea and came out of the war as a first lieutenant, the SI story said. But, the magazine added, Marine Corps records indicate Irsay enlisted on Oct. 23, 1942, was discharged on April 3, 1943 as a sergeant, and never left the United States.

The article also said that Irsay's parents were Jewish and that they reared their children in that faith. But Irsay, the magazine added, insisted he is a Catholic.

"If I was a Jew, I'd say it," Irsay said Sunday. "If I'm a Catholic, I'm a Catholic. You are what you are. You can't change it."

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