Wednesday, June 11, 2008

This Should Come as No Surprise

Former NBA Ref Tim Donaghy unleashed what have to be considered the most damning accusations the league has ever faced in regard to the conduct of its referees. Referring to 'company men,' Donaghy laid out two scenarios where specific playoff games were officiated differently in order to ensure that one team would beat another. If anyone remembers the 2002 Lakers-Kings Game 6 at all, this should not be shocking. Everyone knew the fix was in on that one. It was in the league's best interest to have the series go to seven games and the league clearly wanted the Lakers back in the Finals.

It is amazing how transparent David Stern is in his denials of these allegations. Obviously he's not going to just accept the statements as fact and move on, but the way in which he is denying makes him look all the more guilty. He has been referring to Donaghy as a felon in nearly every mention and is somehow trying to champion a cause that absolutely no one should buy into. That is that the NBA is totally without blame in incidents that have occurred between its teams and officials. There are a myriad of examples from that Kings-Lakers game, to the suspension of Amare Stoudamire in last year's playoffs, to the obviously incorrect Chauncey Billups three-pointer against the Magic, to the ridiculous swings in free throw attempts by home teams, particularly the Lakers and Celtics, in this year's playoffs. I'm not saying these are all related, but to say that the league has no impact on the outcomes of its playoff series is simply incorrect.

Stern should come out and just admit that there have been transgressions in the past, but that the league has worked hard to weed out those who are intent on changing the outcomes of games, whether for gambling reasons or for league revenue reasons. Even if that's not true, it sounds a lot better than saying a whistle-blower is 'a felon and a singing and cooperative witness.'

No comments: