NEW YORK - David Stern led the NBA through drug problems and work stoppages. Now his league faces the stigma of a point-shaving scandal involving a referee.
The NBA acknowledged Friday that the FBI is investigating Tim Donaghy for betting on games, including ones in which he officiated.
According to a law enforcement official, authorities are examining whether the referee made calls to affect the point spread in games on which he or associates had wagered over the past two seasons.
The referee had a gambling problem and was approached by low-level mob associates through an acquaintance, said the official, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
I don't really know why everybody's so shocked. The NBA is rife with strong gang associations, rap industry-associated violence, and general less-than-responsible behavior from it's players. I'm sort of surprised the refs haven't fallen into the gang/thug lifestyle before now.
Of course, what this guy did was way worse than what Pete Rose supposedly did. This guy actually had a direct affect on the outcome where as a manager, Pete could only watch...and besides, if Pete did bet on his own team, he was betting to win and it was never suggested that he threw a game the way this guy could have orchestrated.
The fallout from this is that in all pro sports but especially NBA, every close call, every objectionable call, every technical foul, and every ejection will automatically be met with suspicion of, "Why did he make that horrible call? He must have had money on the game."
I think referees do a terrific job of calling games at the college and pro levels. It's a shame one guy can breech the most sacred trust of organized sports, which is, the expectation of the fan that the game on the court/field is clean, and cast years of doubt as to the integrity of all officials.