Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NBA Refs Fixing Playoff Games?

A year ago, former NBA referee Tim Donaghy caused a stir when he was indicted for gambling on NBA games (including games that he had worked as a referee).

Although the revelation of Donaghy's gambling problems shook the sports world, it came as no surprise to Drive and Dish. I had always suspected that NBA referees and players bet on NBA games. And I'd always considered the quality of officiating in the NBA playoffs to be highly suspect. Aside from my suspicion that players and refs may be gambling on games, I've always suspected that referees may be instructed to engineer the outcomes of close playoff games (in order to ensure marquee playoff/Finals matchups for the league).

Now let me make something clear: I'm not a fan of conspiracy theories. I don't think that George Bush and Dick Cheney were behind the September 11 terrorist attacks. I don't think that Bush and Cheney seeded clouds in the Gulf of Mexico to create a giant Hurricane -- Hurricane Katrina -- in order to kill black people in New Orleans. I don't think the government created AIDS to kill black people. And I don't think that there are aliens in a hanger at area 51.

But I've always been highly skeptical of the NBA's integrity. And I've been waiting for Tim Donaghy to sing to the authorities, in an attempt to get a lighter sentence. Now Donaghy says that NBA referees fixed playoff games in order to increase revenue for the league.

More here.

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