Wednesday, November 25, 2009

where there's smoke?

Source: Gambler claims 13 referees involved in NBA betting scandal

7News sports director Joe Amorosino is reporting the following:

BOSTON -- A source tells 7Sports that the gambler at the center of the 2008 NBA betting scandal says 13 referees were involved.

Jimmy "The Sheep" Battista pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transmit wagering information in connection with disgraced NBA official Tim Donaghy and served 15 months in federal prison.

The source also tells 7Sports that Battista claims he has the phone records to prove his contact with these 13 referees.

Donaghy served 15 months in federal prison for providing inside tips on NBA games to a professional gambler in exchange for money.

When the scandal broke in June of 2008, NBA commissioner David Stern called Donaghy a "rogue, isolated criminal."

The source tells 7Sports that Battista says he had a "Big-5" of dependable referees with Tim Donaghy being the "King" as Battista called him, who the gambler says delivered a winning bet 78 percent of the time in games he officiated.

The 7Sports source says that on December 12, 2006, the night before the Celtics played the Philadelphia 76ers, Battista says he met with Donaghy and a mutual high school friend.

On that night, the gambler claims they made a deal which according to Battista involved Donaghy supplying information including injury reports and referee assignments and Battista making the bets.

The source says that according to Battista, the first game the two men bet on together was the Celtics-76ers game the following night -- a game Donaghy officiated and one the Celtics covered with ease.

The Celtics were 1 1/2 point favorites, but with 10 minutes to play in the third quarter, the score was tied.

The Celtics would eventually go on to win by 20 points.

The source says Battista is making these claims as he works to finalize a tell-all book deal.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pure Spite

It's not like Stern has ever adequately addressed the Donaghy problem. Yes, the league conducted a "thorough investigation" which proved that the same people that were blind to Donaghy's problems are absolutely sure that he was the only one doing it. I don't know how many people were convinced by it but in my opinion the money spent on that could've been better employed on any non-WNBA expenditure. Then Stern made a huge deal about hiring some retired US Army general to oversee all aspects of refereeing in a CYA move rife with symbolism regarding a "get tough" attitude. Plus Stern made a bunch of self serving statements about how he was "betrayed" by Donaghy which makes sense when you consider that Tim did something illegal and, in doing so, provided ammunition to people that contribute to this blog.

So now Donaghy has a book scheduled to be released later this month by a publisher under the Random House umbrella, until it was cancelled due to threats of legal action by the NBA. So much for clearing the air by having full disclosure by all parties. And this comes after Random House had already vetted the book according to Donaghy's liason to the publisher. Surely Stern knows that choice excerpts have already been printed by Deadspin and that his heavy handed action will only draw more attention to them; unless Stern is more clueless about the internet than even I am willing to admit.

So what is going on here other than Stern acting spitefully by utilizing the power of the league to keep Donaghy from earning money from the sale of his book. Is that acting in the best interests of the league? An argument can be made that it is but if the juicy parts are available elsewhere for free, then maybe more people will read them than otherwise and whatever damage that will allegedly happen to the league will be greater. No I think Stern is acting to punish Donaghy, which isn't his job and the owners should make that clear. Donaghy is paying his debt to society through his prison sentence and Stern should just act as if he doesn't exist. Look, I'm not saying that Donaghy is standup guy; from all I've read he's pretty much a prick. Still it's not against the law to be a prick. I can understand if Stern feels that he shouldn't ref in the league ever again because there's an integrity issue that even I can't ignore, although I wish they'd apply that criterion to a few current refs and drum them out immediately. And don't give me the Michael Vick crap either; as a dog owner I'm very disgusted by what Vick did but he's not in a position to harm the NFL by playing. And by being coached by Andy Reid you can make the argument that his sentence has been extended.

So Donaghy's statements are out there and are being commented on; and based upon a purely anecdotal sample, seem to be given a large degree of credence. So it's still a problem for the league but Donaghy isn't earning any money from it. Fannnnntastic.