Sports 56 WHBlog Q

July 14, 2008

Referee Donaghy made not have acted alone

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg Gaston @ 6:17 pm

NBA Commissioner David Stern may have jumped the gun when he called former NBA Referee Tim Donaghy a “Rogue, Isolated Criminal”. The problem with the statement is that Donaghy, who faces up to 33 months in prison after pleading guilty to felony charges of taking cash payments from gamblers, may not have acted alone. Fox News reported Monday that Donaghy made more than 100 phone calls to fellow referee Scott Foster at the same time he was providing information to gamblers during the 2006-07 season.
Citing court documents and phone records Fox News reports Donaghy made exactly 134 phone calls to Foster from October 2006 to April 2007, the same time period he confessed to gambling on games, or providing information about games to gamblers. Coincidence? The only person Donaghy placed calls to more often during that same time period was Thomas Martino, the reported middle man between the referee and a bookie named James Battista. And if you think one referee calling another referee is commonplace, think about this, after the 134 calls to Foster, the next highest volume of phone calls made to a fellow referee by Donaghy was 13. And most importantly, the calls were short in duration and happened just before or after games in which Donaghy refereed. (Hey Tim did you get the bet in? Yea, A C-Note on the Mavs…right?)
This is potentially damaging for several reasons, most notably, it brings a second referee into the conversation, and it also makes Stern look incredibly gullable. Was he not given all the information? Did he know all along but was hoping the news wouldn’t get out? And why can’t the public now not think that if there are two referees involved, can’t there be 3 or 4 or more?
Pandora’s box was opened by Donaghy, now the news could be even more crippling. Let’s hope for the sake of the game that Donaghy and Foster were playing music trivia, or giving each other a pregame pep talk.

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