Shame on the former NBA referee blows the whistle in the league | Opinion

The NBA would like us all to forget the disgraced former referee Tim Donaghy And the gambling scandal that shook the league.

And that’s exactly why we remember her.

Donaghy, who wrote a book about his experience over a decade ago, is speaking again. This time, share In a documentary Fatal Operation – Streaming on Netflix. In the opening minutes of the documentary, after the NBA asked for comment, the NBA responded: “Tim Donaghy is a convicted felon. …there is no basis now to reconsider any of this.”

When people in positions of power tell you this, it means the exact opposite. Let’s review it.

Donaghy, you will remember, was the NBA referee who was at the center of a massive gambling scandal in 2007 that cast real (other) doubts about the integrity of the NBA. As any sports lover knows, the sports world dreads when a player, coach or official gambles in games because it harms the integrity of the competition.

NFL Suspended wide receiver Calvin Ridley Indefinitely this year for betting on NFL games, a penalty that even exceeded Comment 11 games Midfielder Deshaun Watson in twenty cases of sexual assault. Shoeless Joe Jackson and the Black Sox have been banned for life for fixing Major League Baseball games. The stars were Paul Hornung and Alex Karas as well Suspended by the NFL For the entire 1963 season to bet on games.

Anyway, the NBA hit the panic button when Donaghy’s offense was revealed. The league just wanted to really go that far. Donaghy’s gone away, okayHe is serving 11 months of a 15-month prison sentence. He accepted money from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips and made bets on games, some of which he managed.

With all that behind him, Donaghy talks again, again pulling the curtain on the league and the way it operates. You can’t watch the documentary and don’t believe the league is less honest either. The NBA shares the blame for creating situations that leave it vulnerable to manipulation by officials with its uneven application of its own rules. And if Donaghy is to be believed, many of the fans’ worst doubts about the league are valid.

Fans have often accused the league of favoring stars in the way the matches are called; Donaghy says.

Fans accused referees of making make-up calls and, worse, making calls to frustrate certain players; They do, Donaghy says.

Fans accused the judges of having personal agendas and of being willfully inconsistent; They do and they are, Donaghy says.

Donaghy explains in detail how the judges took revenge on star Allen Iverson. Iverson had threatened referee Steve Jaffe during the 2006-07 season. The league fined the player $25,000, but other referees were upset by the lack of comment.

According to Donaghy, they called a series of “palm” violations – dribbling from the lower half of the ball, which allows him to carry it and cover more of the field. Although it is a rule, it is rarely applied, but that night it was used against Iverson. Here’s the point: Why doesn’t the NBA always enforce this rule? Why leave it open to interpretation and something that rulers can use for their own agenda? The same goes for the rule of verticality and other forms of travel violations, which are applied inconsistently, if they are applied at all.

In the documentary, Donaghy cites a vivid example. He says the university decided to crack down on a particular movement by calling it a travel violation. One night Donaghy made that very call – to Michael Jordan. As Donaghy says, “Phil Jackson (coach Jordan) comes off the bench and starts giving me (expletive). And I say, wait a second, Phil, you know as I do that’s the spin they’re asking us to call, and he said, ‘They might like In calling that play, but they certainly didn’t want to call him. Later, in the locker room, another referee said to Donaghy, ‘They want this call, but don’t call him.’

Donaghy says, “When (Commissioner) David Stern organized the league, we as officials knew it was better to treat star players better than others. I just wanted to be the best referee and move up the ladder and I saw the way the players who were in the NBA Finals were treated. They weren’t wrong with the stars, they were respectable. Those (fans) who pay thousands of dollars to sit in the stadium here, didn’t come here to see Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal on the bench. They came to see them play. The league is your boss, you want them to think you’re You’re doing a good job because if that’s the case, you’re on the playoff list that shows up. With that’s a massive amount of more money and respect.”

Donaghy says fans should maintain a dose of skepticism about the league. He told USA Today, “I’ve been working inside it for 14 years and seen what we’re going to do and how star players are handled, and it was different, depending on what was on the front and back of the shirts. And the rules didn’t apply as they were written in the book The rules. I saw it then, and I still see it now.”

The irony is that in recent years, it has been The National Basketball Association has embraced – of all things – gambling, looking for more returns. The league, which loathed any connection to gambling, established partnerships with several gambling companies—among them MGM Resorts, which owns casinos across the country, theScore, Sportradar and several media outlets that will provide access to NBA data for bettors and sportsbooks. “It’s hard to believe you couldn’t place a legal bet on the sport less than a decade ago unless you were in Nevada,” he writes. Roger Wright In exchange for sports… “Things have changed so drastically that NBA teams are now considering the idea of ​​having a sportsbook inside their premises.”

The league tries to bury Donaghy’s chaos on one hand while embracing gambling on the other. Money speaks, but it remains to be seen if, after all these years of trying to stay away from gambling, he can avoid the pitfalls the league found itself in in Donaghy’s business.

In this July 29, 2008 file photo, former NBA referee Tim Donaghy walks out of Brooklyn federal court after being convicted of pleading guilty to federal charges that he took bonuses from a professional gambler for insider gaming advice.

Luis Lanzano, news agency

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