Tim Donaghy, an ex-NBA referee, has told federal agents that fellow referees conspired to extend a 2002 playoff series to its seventh game.
“Donaghy, who pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court to charges of betting on games he officiated, told FBI agents “league officials would tell referees that they should withhold calling technical fouls on certain star players because doing so hurt ticket sales and television ratings,” the document said.
Donaghy claims he was told that two refs who were “company men” acting in the interest of the NBA conspired to extend a playoff series in 2002 to a seventh game.
The referees allegedly ignored flagrant fouls committed by the team that needed to win. They also reportedly called “made-up fouls” against the other team which led to the ejection of two of their players. The team favored by the refs won that night and the next game to win the series.”
Here’s my gut reaction without the benefit of reflection: As easy as it is to believe Donaghy, I feel like he’s crying wolf in this one.
There have been a few incidents involving NBA referees in recent years. It’s easy to blame refs. Donaghy knows this and he sees that’s it easy to tip the scales in his favor. So, I feel as though Donaghy’s just grabbing for something as he slips lower and lower.
Voila! NBA and referee conspiracy! It’s what we’ve wanted since the Patrick Ewing draft! We suspected it in last year’s Suns-Spurs series. It’s finally here!
It really is a shame that this Donaghy story falls on the eve of the Finals Game 2. Some good basketball will be de-railed further by everyone’s sensitivity to officiating.
Because we have such easy access to videos and other peoples’ opinions, someone’s always going to cry foul on a referee call. It will be interesting to see how David Stern and the NBA handle this kind of allegation.