Okay, this is about as bad as it gets for the NBA. If it all ends up to be true, Tim Donaghy (the ref who is being investigated for betting on games and trying to influence the spread) is going to be in a heap of trouble. The NBA is in a heap of trouble. Irony is doing extremely well, as Team USA is currently working out in Las Vegas.
The first problem (outside of the obvious) I had with this story when it broke is that the name of the ref was not initally released. I am not sure why, but it took a while before the name came out. Let’s turn the tables on this. If this were a player, I can almost guarantee that his name would have been attached to the story before it went to print. Seems like a bit of a double standard to me.
The thing we will all start doing is trying to go back in our heads and think of moments when we thought the refs may have had significant influence over a game. Honestly, there are tons of those games. There are some real egos in the NBA officials ranks, so that is a fruitless procedure. But I know what any good Raptor fan is going to do next. You’re going to wonder if Tim Donaghy was on the floor for any of the Raptors playoff games. Yes, he was. He was there for Game 6, which the Raptors lost by a point.
Now, before anybody even starts thinking of saying that Tim Donaghy may have had an impact on the Raptors loss that night or the series overall (he only appeared in that one game), we can’t forget how poorly the Raptors played. They could have had all of the refs on their side, trying to work things in their favour and they still would have lost. They just weren’t ready.
So let’s examine David Stern. There is no way he could have known about Tim Donaghy and his gambling on NBA games. I say this because if there is one thing David Stern is, it is calculated. He wouldn’t want something like this hanging over him or the league, knowing that it would one day come out and he would have to answer why the guy was still on the floor. He wouldn’t want to be caught with egg on his face. That being said, it has been reported that people in NBA circles knew that Tim Donaghy was having all sorts of problems, from harassing people to gambling. So why wasn’t any action taken? Why wasn’t he watched a bit more closely or monitored through a league assistance program?
Anyway, this whole situation just makes you think about all of the times players have complained about refs in the NBA. I doubt there are other refs betting on games, especially ones they are involved in, but who knows?