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On the dubious and salacious “13 other referees are involved” claim

Because I am in a unique position – and, in fact have motivations – to address this, it requires its own post (whereas other dubious claims are amalgamated elsewhere on this blog).

During his current press tour promoting his book, former NBA referee Tim Donaghy has repeatedly stated (in various iterations) that his co-conspirator, pro gambler Jimmy Battista, is claiming 13 other referees were involved.1  This claim stems a single, unbelievably speculative media story based exclusively on an anonymous source put out by a local NBC affiliate (WHDH, Boston) on 11/25/09, which I immediately publicly discredited as “ridiculous and irresponsible” hours after it aired.

Battista has made no such claims, nor does he make such claims.  The same can be said of me, as someone who has interviewed Battista and others with intimate knowledge of the scheme extensively.  I can quite easily imagine some of Donaghy’s incentives to promote this, but like many other matters in the scandal coverage often emanating from Donaghy himself, it has no basis in fact.

1. For example, Donaghy said the following on 12/8/09 during an interview with “Boomer and Carton” on WFAN, New York (at 23:27 of the interview): “Battista is also saying that he had 13 other referees on his payroll that he worked with.”

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