Tim Donaghy: Desperate Man or Righteous Whistleblower?

Pro Football NYCSenior Writer IJune 11, 2008

Is Convicted NBA Referee Telling the Truth?

Tim Donaghy is not a good guy. Let's make that clear. He compromised the integrity of the NBA by using his on-court authority to manipulate the outcomes of games. He willingly assisted organized crime figures to reap hefty profits gambling on NBA games.

He has pleaded guilty to charges and faces 33 months in federal prison. This is well-known as his latest swipe at the league asserting that some playoff games in 2002 and 2005 were rigged in order to stretch the series to seven games.

We know the league loves seven-game series and the massive revenues attached to them.

To me, this does not sound as far-fetched as the NBA has admitted. Of course, David Stern and NBA attorneys are going to vehemently deny anything that Donaghy says from here on in because how can you believe a 'convicted felon'?

I remember when the Donaghy scandal broke. I remember David Stern's face during his press conference. He was scared to death. The league that he had rescued by solidifying markets and augmenting franchises was facing its toughest test yet.

The jig was up. The league was about to be exposed for their hegemonic initiatives to favor the home teams in games.

Stern took over the NBA in 1984. The league was in dire straits. The game had gotten stale, and many franchises were teetering on brink of financial disaster.

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were in the throes of their renewed Celtics-Lakers rivalry, which along with the arrival of Michael Jordan would become the centerpiece of Stern's PR campaign to expand the league.

But those three players were not enough to generate genuine and continuing interest in the far outposts of the league. They needed a hook to put asses in the seats on the nights superstars weren't in town. There had to be a way to level the playing field.

Can you guess what they came up with?

That's when I stopped watching the NBA in earnest.

To this day, I can only watch half-heartedly. I have a 165 IQ. There is no way home teams should win at the rate they do in the NBA. Every court is made of wood. Every court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide.

All the baskets are 10 feet high and the lines and the rest of the apparatus are uniform league-wide. Most of the arenas in the NBA are new buildings, and I'll bet half of you won't know where you are once you get inside, that's how similar they've become.

So taking that out of the equation, I am left with only a few reasons why home teams have dominated play. This season, the home teams won at a clip of nearly 70 percent (705-491), which considering the 'level' playing conditions in inexplicable.

I say the officials may have had something to do with the tempos of those games. The rate of victory for home teams probably would be higher, but the bad teams probably couldn't hit the shots.

So Tim Donaghy is now a pariah, and in our society, pariahs and condemned men are not to be believed. That is too bad because throughout history, gallows confessions have been proved to be strikingly true.

Why do you think the throngs would gather around the gallows for an execution? Sure they wanted to see the blood and the gore.

But they also wanted to hear the truth.