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Billie Jean King Director: Bobby Didn't Throw the Match

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Monday, 09 Sep 2013 05:38 PM

Billie Jean King won her famous 1973 tennis match against Bobby Riggs fair and square and the new allegation that Riggs lost as part of a deal with the Mafia to repay gambling debts is "nonsense," says James Erskine, director of "American Masters: Billie Jean King."

"We investigated the story pretty thoroughly. Bobby says he didn't throw the match. Everybody that knows him said he didn't throw the match," Erskine told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"There's a neat theory. Bobby Riggs is a gambler. He couldn't possibly be beaten by a woman. But which is the more convincing? That a woman can beat a man or that Bobby was involved in throw[ing] a match when he stood to make millions if he won.

"He had contracts lined up all around the world. This was his moment. It's just nonsense, to be honest. It's just nonsense and it doesn't deserve airtime."

The program will be aired Tuesday night on PBS.

Erskine said King is not just a sporting hero, but "somebody who's made the world a better place for a lot of people."

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