Saturday , Nov , 08 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

No Transparency in the Referee Investigation and More Damning Statements from NBA Officials

No Transparency in the Referee Investigation and More Damning Statements from NBA Officials

I was poring over headlines to find something new and interesting to write about.  Of course, there was the big Allen Iverson trade, but last night seems like an old story.  He had a great individual game, but his team still managed to lose.  Here’s another re-hash of an old story: “NBA fails in its promise to deliver ‘transparency’ in the referee investigations.” 

There is also a common sub-plot – too much “explanation.”  He got a report – paid for by the NBA – that said Donaghy acted alone.  Why couldn’t Scott Foster leave well enough alone?  Methinks he doth protest too much.   

I hadn’t really though about it before, but he gave some screwy explanations.  There were 134 calls between Donaghy and Foster in the 2006-2007 season, the majority of which were 2 minutes or less and all of which occurred before or after games they worked.  Foster claims that during those two minutes, he and Donaghy would talk about “silly things” such as “Oprah Winfrey.”  During that season, Donaghy only called his bookie with short phone calls 126 times. 

The only person that Donaghy called more was his bookie’s middleman.  The ref he called the next most times was only called 13 times during that season. 

If you’re bored or only or want to shoot the bull you talk (even if it’s going to be about Oprah) for more than 2 minutes.  The second link above has some interesting timeframes regarding the placement of the calls.  More notably, the two never officiated together that season and the calls stopped once Donaghy stopped his gambling activity in March of 2007.  This is suspicious, indeed. 

Apparently, the Association is continuing its independent investigation.  This revelation, however, is in the pattern of David Stern trying to clear his name and win in the Public Relations court of law.  Stern and the NBA continue to try to hard to explain themselves.  They obviously thought they needed an explanation, and they gave us this weak one. 

This one just smells funny and it’s no surprise that the guy being paid by the NBA is giving the NBA the answers Stern wants.  There are many beer sponsors, auto sponsors, apparel sponsors and a whole host of other monetary interests that would not be served by a league-wide scandal.   

The thing that continues to tick me off is how the league and Stern continue to selectively choose when to apply “bright-line” rules and when to discard them  

Doesn’t this bother anybody?  Why aren’t more persons concerned?  Am I that nutty person standing a soap box and screaming?  Why can’t everyone else see this? 

With this evidence, I could convict Foster of a conspiracy and/or RICO violation.  Why can’t all these high-paid lawyers (I’m a moderately-paid lawyer) get something better than, “Me and Tim like to talk about Oprah for two minutes at a time.”? 

Every time I watch a game I wonder.  Who saw the Portland-Houston game?  It didn’t look like a foul to me on Yao’s fade-away jumper at the end (the penultimate possession of the game).   

During the season in question (2006-2007), the line moved 2 points or more because of big betting on one team 7 times and in all 7 games the big money won.  The odds of this happening randomly are less than 1%.  

I could convict with this evidence.  Suspicious phone calls and big-money winners, coupled with Donaghy’s bad acts.  On top of that, the NBA broke its self-imposed media-official gag to try to explain this stuff, and the best they can come up with is two-minute conversations about Oprah Winfrey.  I’d love to get Foster under oath and cross-examine him and see how he holds up – but I will not even get the chance to see a tough interview by a reporter not influenced by the need to keep receiving his/her paycheck from a sports outlet. 

Demand more accountability and transparency.