Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy is making the rounds. Sunday night he spoke to CBS' 60 Minutes and described in lurid detail how he gambled on NBA games, even games he officiated. Donaghy was found out, charged, and ultimately pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges, he served 15 months in prison. He's out now and has written a book, "Personal Foul", detailing his 13 seasons as an NBA referee, his gambling addiction and ultimate downfall. But that's just the beginning.
The FBI conducted a full scale investigation and in the end concluded that Donaghy was telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And that truth pointed the finger at his fellow referees, the NBA, and it's commissioner David Stern. And what was David Sterns reaction. Stern said his league is clean, that there is no problem. He called Tim Donaghy, "a rouge referee". Going Rouge, where have I heard that before?
In his 60 Minutes interview and his subsequent national interviews on Monday, Tim Donaghy told the same story. Donaghy insisted that his fellow officials would allow their personal relationships, good and bad, to determine how they called NBA games.
b4a8946265954968a1b07166a2688a9e.jpgAP PhotoAccording to Tim Donaghy Alan Iverson suffered the wrath of NBA referees
One player at the center of Tim Donaghy's allegations against fellow NBA referees was Alan Iverson. Donaghy said when NBA referee Steve Javie was on the court, Iverson would not get certain calls, but when Joe Crawford refereed, Iverson would have more freedom to perform. Video shown in the 60 Minutes interview confirmed Donaghy's charges. And it wasn't just the players who were subject to the referees whistle. Certain NBA coaches could expect a certain game when a certain ref was on the floor, and a referees relationship with team owners and general managers also carried influence.
And what gives Donaghy's comments merit, the FBI believed him. Investigators with nearly 30 years of experience were assigned to the case. And they found Tim Donaghy to be truthful, and in the 60 Minutes interview, they said so.
p1.donaghy.jpgAP PhotoTim Donaghy called the NBA more of an entertainment show than a true competition
So with all that in mind how are we to look at the National Basketball Association? Is this Professional Wrestling, are we dealing with Figure Skating and the Russian judges?
These are legitimate questions. And where is the commissioner?
Monday David Stern said his league is fine, that there is no problem with the his referees, and the NBA continues to audit the men who calls the games. It's what he's said for two years...and it's just not enough.
As David Letterman would always say, "It's not a competition...it's just an exhibition...please no wagering." You can say that again!