Rogue Ref Donaghy Speaks Out on 60 Minutes

Published December 27, 2009 by OCR Editor

Rogue Ref Donaghy Speaks Out on 60 Minutes

Revelations and regret by NBA ref on CBS primetime.

Basketball represents a clean cut image of sports and has a tradition of fairness, skill and discipline. Tim Donaghy's NBA betting fiasco has tarnished not only his own reputation but that of the sport as a whole. When asked on ‘60 Minutes' whether he had betrayed the values that so many held dear, Donaghy simply replied, "Yes. I did." He gave further details of the whole sorry tale to Bob Simon on the popular CBS prime time news magazine this week.

From Winning Highs to Ethical Lows
Donaghy had a 13 year dream job refereeing NBA games and taking home $300,000 a year. Yet the person who seemingly had everything, fell foul in the gambling arena, getting hooked on the euphoria of winning and ultimately crossing the ethical line of betting not only on NBA games but on those he himself refereed.

On ‘60 Minutes' Donaghy tried to defend his honor, clearly re-iterating the claims in his book that this betting did not influence his in-game decision making.  When Bob Simon asked why the general public should believe such an implausible claim, Donaghy replied, "Because the FBI did a thorough investigation, and even the NBA concluded that I did not fix games in the NBA."

Indeed the NBA's investigation states, "It seems plausible to us that Donaghy may not have manipulated games... We are unable to contradict the government's conclusion."

Donaghy Lifts the Lid on NBA
Donaghy outlined how there were, "certain relationships that existed between referees and players, referees and coaches, and referees and owners that influence the point spreads in games,".

He described how several refs would let their feelings for individual players influence their calls and that his inside knowledge of these relationships helped him predict results. Said Donaghy, "I knew those relationships, whether they were positive or negative, had an effect on the game."

Donaghy also spilled the beans on how the NBA headquarters inadvertently assisted his pickings. They sent out refs instructions before each game and these sometimes included rectifying previous missed fouls or bad calls that teams had complained about. Donaghy would be aware that the referee of their next game would go easy in order to remedy the situation and placate the complainants.

Final Descent
Donaghy then highlighted his final descent which started with the mob finding out about his involvement in gambling and ended with him being caught passing on information which lead them to raking in several million dollars. 

Donaghy may now have served his time and won his freedom but he cannot retrieve his past life.  His exploits lead to the loss of both his marriage and the profession he loved. 

Donaghy was on '60 Minutes' to promote his new book, "Personal Foul".

See also

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