FanDuel - WFBC

July 20, 2007

Technical foul called on referee: Did an NBA referee bet on games, and make calls affecting the point spreads of those games he worked? The FBI is checking on this one.

posted by NerfballPro to basketball at 10:30 AM - 27 comments

I am not shocked! The NBA is the most horribly officiated sport I have ever seen, I'll bet this is far more wide spread.

posted by bo_fan at 11:47 AM on July 20

Who was it? Crawford? Bavetta?

posted by corpse at 11:55 AM on July 20

Violet Palmer, but she'll get away with it because she has a body of work showing her screwing up the calls anyway.

posted by yerfatma at 12:13 PM on July 20

If you want to find out the referee's name, I suggest that you read the link that Nerfball posted. Hint: its the name beginning with "D" in the title of the article.

posted by googly at 01:31 PM on July 20

If you want to find out the referee's name, I suggest that you read the link that Nerfball posted. Hint: its the name beginning with "D" in the title of the article. ESPN has updated the story at the link; the prior version did not name the referee's name.

posted by holden at 02:08 PM on July 20

Good Lord! Can I just cut-and-paste my "stupidest award-winning example of decision making ever" post from the Vick thread and just rephrase it to fit this story? As I said before, stupidity has a way of making it's presence known.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:10 PM on July 20

The NBA is the most horribly officiated sport I have ever seen Apparently, you've never watched the Canadian Football League! As such, I would dispute that it (the NBA) has the worst officiating out there. It's also probably the hardest game to officiate. Sportainment at its biggest, fastest, and strongest makes a difficult environment for NBA officials. They're not infallible, of course, but they could be a heckuvva lot worse IMHO. Of course, corruption in bigtime sports, like the NBA, is bound to happen. No, this shouldn't come as a total surprise, but I can't imagine it being as widespread as some might think. Yes, it is an incredibly stupid thing to do and think you can get away with it ... but I do have faith that most officials are too stupid to even try ;)

posted by Spitztengle at 04:05 PM on July 20

If only grum worked for the NBA, he'd have every game this shyster officiated statistically broken down so quick, it'd make Ron Artest's head spin. Well, it'd spin faster than it does now, anyway.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:49 PM on July 20

It's also probably the hardest game to officiate. Smallest playing surface of the four major sports, fewest players, slowest ball, not sure what makes it the hardest to officiate. I'd much rather be in charge of calling fouls in a NBA game than trying to call penalties in a NFL game. Baseline calls vs. balls and strikes at 95 MPH, give me the baseline. True, the entertainment factor is higher in the NBA, but I do not see that as something that should impact their judgement during play. My feeling is that the NBA is far more susceptible to this than other sports due to the impact the official can have on the outcome of the game. Hard for a third base ump, backfield ref., or an official in hockey to change the score much at the end of a game. However, in basketball, one can just call borderline fouls to drive the score up, or not call them to keep it low. That being said, I do think that the vast majority of officials are far too honest, and smart, to try something like this

posted by dviking at 04:51 PM on July 20

Wasn't this a story line on the Sopranos in season 4?

posted by irunfromclones at 04:57 PM on July 20

The NBA has slowly been slipping more into the entertainment realm than the sports realm. They just took a giant leap in that direction. I guess the best spin the NBA can put on it, is that it's an isolated incident. That's a little bit of a hard sell when the guy has been a ref. for 13 seasons and 700 plus games. We now have to give the conspiracy theorist a little bit of credibility, they may have a proven case.

posted by Familyman at 05:06 PM on July 20

David Stern - MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Not good. That is, if it's true. Wasn't this a New York Post scoop? (Violet Palmer would have been impossible to pin this on.)

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:44 PM on July 20

I could see this spilling over into other sports also. We may now have come to the point of having refs/umpires, investigated fully before employed. Heck I could see it going to the point of random lie detector tests being done. Why not? We all ready have the athletes doing random drug testing. What really is the difference? Or more use of TV cameras in games.

posted by robi8259 at 05:47 PM on July 20

Et tu Donaghy? Basketball is out of order. Football is out of order. Baseball is out of order. The whole damn World of Sports is out of order!

posted by fourthreeforty at 08:44 PM on July 20

Can I just cut-and-paste my "stupidest award-winning example of decision making ever" post from the Vick thread and just rephrase it to fit this story? Stupidity seems only evident if you get caught..... Everyone had forgotten about the Spurs-Suns debacle. Let's see spin doctors forget about this one, even if Donaghy is found innocent.

posted by NerfballPro at 09:23 PM on July 20

I need to do some research and find out how many games this dickhead cost me this year. Is there a lawyer on SpoFi that can advise me? Do I have a case? This is much worse than a player betting on his own team. He should spend some time in the clink for sure as well as a lifetime ban from all sports. I had suspicions that this may have happened in the NBA at some point. The reffing is horrible, I thought it was just due to refs hating certain players, but apparantly it may be much more involved than that.

posted by urall cloolis at 10:07 PM on July 20

"I thought it was just due to refs hating certain players, but apparantly it may be much more involved than that." WELL SAID, urall cloolis

posted by bo_fan at 10:21 PM on July 20

I need to do some research and find out how many games this dickhead cost me this year. Is there a lawyer on SpoFi that can advise me? Do I have a case? To do what? Sue a bookie? Ha! That's like going to the police because the bad man broke into your house and stole some weed from you. Sue Las Vegas? Unless you think they were involved, they've done nothing wrong. Sue the NBA? They make it very clear that they don't want people betting on their games. Sue the ref? He didn't commit a crime against you, and your "losses" could be expected, even if he didn't fix the game (hence the "gambling" part).

posted by grum@work at 11:40 PM on July 20

Hey Grum- it was a JOKE...get a grip.

posted by urall cloolis at 11:47 PM on July 20

There are highlight videos on YouTube of Suns-Spurs Game 3 that show Donaghy repeatedly making absurd calls. I'd post a link, but the NBA is probably trying to take them down as quickly as they pop up, so just search for them. Although you'd have to watch the entire game to really be sure, the clips are pretty damning. It seems at least possible that that game may have been fixed. This is yet another NBA disaster. The league is a mess.

posted by Venicemenace at 02:03 PM on July 22

The FBI is now investigating the possibility that organized crime had its hooks into this ref and players might be involved.

posted by rcade at 07:57 PM on July 22

This situation was bound to happen. The NBA is so reluctant to review and criticize referees who can control the outcome, there is no real disincentive for a referee to do something like this. The ref doesn't have to worry about public scrutiny and only faces the prospect that Cuban might send a video of bad calls. The NBA should have long publicized their scoring of refs and how they are judged. That would be a good fix. In addition, they should do what the NFL does and have the head of the referees come on television to explain some of the more questionable calls. That show would last about an hour with the current state of officiating.

posted by bperk at 07:05 AM on July 23

Here's an article where Donaghy's former neighbors say they were approached 18 months ago by a private investigation they believed was from the NBA asking about Donaghy's gambling habits.

posted by bperk at 07:16 AM on July 23

Man, what a first-rate jackass. I'm kind of relieved to hear he is a generally contemptable character. You wonder if the guy came wittingly or if the mob approached him and immediately put him into a no-win situation. At this point, my guess is the former and he probably deserves a good deal -- though certainly not all -- of what is about to be handed to him. I'm not a big basketball fan, but if this happened in baseball the mob might be the least of this guy's worries. It would seriously challenge my whole personal preference for non-violence -- like Fehr and Selig in '94, but worse.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 10:46 AM on July 23

Holy cow, Bill Simmons can actually still write a decent column (mostly) devoid of pop culture references and lacking that special smug, self-congratulatory tone when he puts his mind to it!!!

posted by holden at 12:21 PM on July 23

The Denver Post reports the NBA knew Donaghy was under investigation in January, and yet still gave him 5 playoff games including the now-infamous Suns-Spurs Game 3. This is appalling.

posted by Venicemenace at 12:42 PM on July 23

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.