For my purposes, at least, one of the key areas of interest in the upcoming 60 Minutes interview of former referee Tim Donaghy involves the assertion he was threatened in December 2006 by organized crime figures to provide them with his NBA picks (which he had been placing, according to him, since 2003). Here is a transcript of the preview released by CBS yesterday:
CBS Correspondent Bob Simon: “‘The Mob’ found out about it [his successful betting on his NBA games], and wanted in on the action. That’s when Donaghy discovered what it means to be really scared. It started outside this hotel in Philadelphia. The FBI says two men associated with the Gambino crime ‘family’ requested a meeting with Donaghy. They took him for a ride.
Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy: They came down and picked me up.
Simon: They picked you up?
Donaghy: Mm hmm.
Simon: And what happened then?
Donaghy: They basically told me that I needed to give them the picks and if I didn’t, that, um, it’s a possibility that somebody would go down and visit my wife and kids in Florida.
Simon: Wow. And you believed them?
Simon. [Were] you scared?
May 2023 Update: As many people thankfully have come to realize, this exchange is among the most absurd and demonstrably false in the program. How this was presented on the formerly venerable CBS show is a disappointing mystery, it was so easy to fact check and debunk. For starters, “the mob” turned out to be Donaghy’s lifelong best friend (and fellow government cooperator) Tommy Martino and Martino’s longtime friend pro gambler Jimmy Battista! The three men knew each other for years and had attended the same high school. More importantly, please recall (1) the FBI never described the case as an extortion scheme, and (2) never mentioned (even in confidential files) a role for organized crime. Also recall that during the sentencing phase, (3) the U.S. Attorney’s Office didn’t charge anyone with extortion, and (4) wrote Donaghy “has never taken the position that he was anything other than a willing participant in the scheme with Battista and Martino, and, before them, with Jack Concannon” (Concannon was a Donaghy golfing buddy with whom he placed bets). Lastly, recall (5) Judge Amon described the scheme as a business “arrangement” before noting that (6) Donaghy was “more culpable” than his two co-conspirators. Beyond all of this, in 2020 Martino exposed the scam in a podcast interview and Donaghy has been in communication many times throughout the last 15 years, including pitching a business venture and asking to watch a documentary on the scandal together.