Finally, some new tidbits and takes on the Donaghy situation.
The latest assessment of former referee Tim Donaghy’s allegations comes from Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press, who (12/23/09) writes in part:
“The NBA isn’t fixed. Anyone who believes to the contrary must then assume the natural next step of believing in the existence of a multilayered fraud meant to deliberately deceive the general public. If you’re certain that the NBA is nothing more than a conspiracy-cloaked, gambling-shadowed scam, there is no alternative but to walk away from the product and never watch another second – or else you’re a willing accomplice to a criminal act…(Former referee Tim) Donaghy has become a hero to those who have long suspected that some referees hold grudges against some players while granting special privileges to others. But that’s hardly a news flash. Donaghy isn’t saying anything that anyone with an ounce of common sense couldn’t already figure out…”
Sharp’s column is syndicated, and can be found on the web sites of numerous other media outlets if the Free Press link above is problematic.
ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons discusses Donaghy’s book and claims with noted author and commentator Malcolm Gladwell 12/18/09.
The exchange includes this from Simmons: “I love how (Donaghy’s) arguing that he made 80 percent (of his bets on NBA games) on the biases of other referees, but Donaghy, the guy who was gambling on professional basketball and calling other referees pretending to be friends but secretly pumping them for information, somehow managed to remain unbiased that whole time. Pull this leg and it plays “Jingle Bells.” On the other hand, he tapped into four things that had been haunting the league for a while: certain fishy moments in playoff games from 1999-2002 (things I was writing about even at the time); some blatant, if-you-saw-it-happening-in-person-you-could-feel-it examples of officials barely being able to conceal their disgust for certain players or coaches (a recurring theme of the past two decades); conflicts of interest with stars doing favors off the court for referees (for instance, sending a signed jersey or sneakers to an official who runs a charity); and a fear in general that officials hold too much sway over every basketball game. All he did was regurgitate the same tales/whispers/rumors/concerns that everyone within NBA circles had already heard and digested, but for the general public, it was eye-opening.”
Re: Donaghy’s claims he won between 70-80% of his bets without fixing games, Simmons writes, “if Donaghy was smart, he’d scrap the book and open a 1-900 gambling hotline,” something I noted here weeks ago.
Audio discussion between “On the DL” host Dan Levy and Zach Harper of Talkhoops.net
(Donaghy-specific discussion is from 18:05 – 38:50)
Starting at 19:55, Harper offers this assessment re: Donaghy’s supposed betting success rate and the related means to attain it: “Any advanced NBA blogger, any NBA writer (knows) a lot of the things that (Donaghy) is claiming as inside information…This is all stuff that above-average NBA fans will know, and yet we’re not going to go out and bet and win at a 70 percent clip…I just believe he’s either lying in the book, in this ‘tell-all’ book where he doesn’t tell all, or he is withholding information which, in this situation, could be considered the same thing.”