Tim Donaghy : A Disgrace to the Game

Frankie Anetzberger@FXAContributor IIDecember 9, 2009

DALLAS - APRIL 24:  Guard Mike Bibby #10 of the Sacramento Kings argues with official Tim Donaghy #21 during play against the Dallas Mavericks in game three of the first round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs on April 24, 2004 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

I have no problem with anybody betting on basketball games, horse races, or any games for that matter. It's entirely up to the individual that is placing the bet. However, if you have a direct impact on the game (Good ol' Timmy), you should in no way bet on the sports or league you are impacting. I don't think you can stop NBA referees, or any other referees, from betting on horse races or going to the casino. But there should definitely be a clause in the contract they sign that strictly prohibits them from betting on the sport they referee.

Hopefully by now the entire basketball world has heard or seen the interview conducted by either 60 Minutes or ESPN with Tim Donaghy. He was very open in the interview and gave an explanation for just about every question asked. He admitted that he bet on about 100 NBA games, of which some of the games he reffed himself. Donaghy also told 60 Minutes the mob became involved in his betting which influenced some of his decisions.

By far the most interested part of his ESPN interview was the fact that he denied ever "manipulating" game. He said countless times he had a strong disliking toward Rasheed Wallace. The referees would play a contest to see which ref would give him a technical foul first. They would enforce rules strictly upon him, but never did he admit that he fixed the outcome of a game. The most revealing part of the interview relating to manipulation was a situation with Allen Iverson. According to Donaghy, Iverson had threatened a referee and was only fined a mere $25K. Again, according to him, the entire population of referees thought Iverson should have been suspended and blatantly made calls against him. Knowing certain officials were upset with Iverson and knowing the referees would be less lenient with him, Donaghy bet the Nuggets would lose the game. Which they did. Now Donaghy never said that he personally was upset with Iverson's threat, but he did officiate the game they lost in and won the bet.

Obviously it is a dead issue and Donaghy is no longer officiating, but I would still like an explanation on how he never manipulated a game. Having a personal bias against a certain player, making calls to hinder his play, and betting on the opposing team sounds a lot like manipulation to me. It fits the definition of manipulating very well (to manage or influence skillfully, esp. in an unfair manner: to manipulate people's feelings).

Despite the fact that he is no longer reffing, does that mean that there aren't other refs out there like him who simply didn't get caught? Donaghy mentioned that many refs had personal biases and that he would take the information from them and bet on certain teams. He also stated several times that he did not know of any other referees that bet on games. I don't know how truthful that is. But then I thought about it a little bit. What would he have to lose if he mentioned other names? He's already screwed out of the NBA and is living off the money from his new book. Why wouldn't he let the league know about other names?

The bottom line is he made the league's image even more worse than it already was. The league has always been facing off the court issues with their players, and this problem actually happened within the confines of the NBA interior. Shame on you Tim Donaghy, your a disgrace to the game of basketball, and certainly a disgrace to the NBA.




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