Friday , Aug , 17 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Arizona Could Charge Tim Donaghy, Adding Fuel To Phoenix Suns-San Antonio Spurs Fire

Two things are worth noting here. First, the Donaghy scandal won’t disappear. As details emerge, fans will wonder how the ref influenced games that involved their team. Anything that can call into question a sport’s integrity is a nightmare, a worst case scenario for all the stakeholders involved. So far Commissioner Stern has been able to sweep this mess under the rug. This won’t continue …

The Associated Press reports that Tim Donaghy could face charges in Arizona: 

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy could face charges in Arizona‘s most populous county if investigations by the league and FBI show that he deliberately miscalled two Phoenix Suns playoff games this year, authorities said.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has sent letters to NBA Commissioner David Stern and the head of the FBI in Washington, saying he wants to know whether Donaghy gambled on the two Suns road playoff games, provided inside information to gamblers or helped determine the outcome by making bad officiating calls.

Thomas said the games in question are the April 29 game against the Los Angeles Lakers and the May 12 game against the San Antonio Spurs.

The Suns beat the Lakers 113-110 in the April 29 game, but lost to the Spurs 108-101 on May 12 in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals.

My Quick Take: Two things are worth noting here. First, the Donaghy scandal won’t disappear. As details emerge, fans will wonder how the ref influenced games that involved their team. Anything that can call into question a sport’s integrity is a nightmare, a worst case scenario for all the stakeholders involved. So far Commissioner Stern has been able to sweep this mess under the rug. This won’t continue.

Second, the cries will be loudest in , where the lawsuit is based. No coincidence there. The Suns already felt robbed because of the game five suspensions to and . When news broke that Donaghy officiated game three of their series against the Spurs, Phoenix fans sent me emails and messages specifically questioning the fouls called on Amare Stoudemire. They used words like “phantom” and “fixed.”

But this isn’t a case of spilt milk. I’m paraphrasing here, but ESPN’s Bill Simmons, a Boston die-hard and neutral observer, called game three of the Suns-Spurs series the worst officiated game he had ever seen.

Now put yourself in the shoes of a fan. All they ever hear is that their team is boring and ruined basketball with their methodical style (Please Note: these are not my personal thoughts. I have a lot of respect for the Spurs and enjoy watching them). Phil Jackson put aside his Zen-like ways and said their first NBA Title should have an asterisk beside it because it was won during a strike shortened season.

Now a bunch of up-tempo, run-and-gun, seven seconds to shoot Phoenix fans are going to continue to question the validity of San Antonio’s well-deserved 2007 Title. Unfortunately, for Spur fans, the Donaghy scandal has given them a legitimate leg to stand on.

I hope this thing goes away. I really do. But I believe the Tim Donaghy scandal is just starting. And with it, a Pandora’s Box of problems shall plague the NBA.

What do you think of Arizona county laying charges against Tim Donaghy? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog.