NBA Restores Tarnished Reputation

Published October 9, 2008 by OCR Editor

NBA Restores Tarnished Reputation

Is the sun really setting on the criminal underbelly of illegal NBA betting?

It was scandalous; it was unheard of. It rocked the foundations of the National Basketball Association, and all but obliterated public trust - news of 13-season referee Tim Donaghy's illicit gambling activity. The former ref-turned-inmate was sacked, tried and incarcerated for wire-fraud and sports betting. The NBA's golden image was tarnished and the NBA empire brought to its knees.

Clean up
Allegations of underground ties to the mafia are rife in the NBA. And the referees in particular are under pressure to distance themselves from any implications of untoward conduct. David Stern, the beleaguered NBA commissioner, has been burning the midnight oil to restore credibility to the game. Stern was quoted saying, "I feel betrayed by what happened on behalf of the sport, regardless of how protective I've been." He believes the scandal lives and dies with Donaghy, although the jury is out on that one.

Beyond the scandal
2007 has come and gone and Donaghy is doing his time for the crime. A former federal prosecutor, Lawrence Pedowitz, in his 116-page review - on behalf of the NBA - absolved the association of any other wrongdoing. The Donaghy Affair was deemed ‘an isolated event.' But even that report was somewhat misleading - Pedowitz himself suggested that there was greater interaction with the NBA and the illegal gambling world. Indeed on page 16 of his report, 14 months later, footnote 24, Pedowitz alludes to significant cooperation between the gambling world and the NBA. The gambling world is seen as a helpful barometer in monitoring unusual betting activity on matches.

Stern response
David Stern enlisted the help of a retired U.S. Army general to gather evidence to refute Donaghy's allegations of pervasive corruption. Stern believes the scandal ended with Donaghy's conviction, others are less convinced. But the roots of suspicion run deep and there remains uncertainty about how many officials are involved. However, with a clean bill of health being given, the NBA is fighting fit. The rules are so strict that refs can't gamble or provide information to anyone, other than their immediate family, regarding details of their travel schedules or the games they are going to work at.

See also

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NBA Western Conference Semifinals: Rockets Vs. Lakers

Would the NBA bet on the NBA?

Legal NBA Gambling in the Cards?

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