NHL take on the NBA scandal?

31 08 2007

“The Only Thing Our Refs shave is the ice.”

- A Dallas Stars billboard near the American Airlines Center, the building they share with the Dallas Mavericks

 [photopress:stars_billboard_083107.jpg,full,pp_image]



Your coach or your dog?

25 08 2007

It’s beginning to look like it’s better to choke your coach than your dog.

Vick is being suspended indefinitely without pay.  Sprewell only got one year.  Sprewell was able to sue the NBA to get his pay back.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Vick is able to do the same.

Ultimately, Goodell is taking away his right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’.   Regardless of his crime, the judge will determine what he should repay society.  Goodell is giving him the financial death penalty.

Sprewell played in the NBA after his ‘crime’.  Will Vick ever take the field again?

I think the only justice in all of this is that Petrino, who after leaving Louisville after the first year of a ten year contract, went to coach Atlanta a fairly average team with a superstar quarterback, now sans superstar.   (Where’s Brohm when you need him?)



Classic Basketball One-on-one

25 08 2007



Only Twenty?

24 08 2007

“Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy struck a deal Monday to name twenty other NBA referees who broke the league’s gambling rules. The refs could all lose their jobs. ”

 Full Story



DeShawn Stevenson claims to have slept through shootout at his crib

22 08 2007

As if David Stern didn’t already have enough on his plate with the contamination of his league by a crooked ref, the commish now has a shooting at DeShawn Stevenson’s Orlando home to deal with.

The Washington Wizards’ guard was supposedly asleep in his gated community home early Monday morning after an evening of clubbin’ ended with Stevenson and some of his boys bringing home some sluts women from the club. According to witnesses, the group was followed into the gated suburban community by a Cadillac Escalade and the driver of the Caddy got into an argument with one of the hos patrons from the club before opening fire. During the rain of gunfire, bullets tore up Stevenson’s Lexus SUV, his BMW and his crib, but Stevenson’s crew claims that they simply ran into the house and never returned fire. Apparently, the group of, uh, groupies just vanished into the night in their hooker heels and exposing outfits.

But, like always, something isn’t adding up in this high profile crime because Stevenson’s entourage is saying they never fired any weapons at the vehicle, but investigators found blood on one of the cars and bullet casings in the driveway. And about 30 minutes after the shootout, a man named Curtis Ruff drove up to a hospital in an Escalade with gunshot wounds to his leg. Ruff refused to cooperate, but the authorities feel pretty confident that he’s the dude they’re looking for. Well, duh!

However, either this guy decided to blast himself in the leg or he’s a worse shot than Harry from Dumb and Dumber OR DeShawn’s boys are lying about the return fire. We’re guessing it’s the latter. And what makes this even more suspicious is that nobody involved in the incident wanted to press charges. Now, we know that rich athletes are a completely different breed of people than us, but we can guarantee that if someone starts shooting up our home then we’re going after his ass. We’re guessing that like Michael Vick and all the other liars in the world of sports, Stevenson will eventually come out with a completely different story regarding the incident. Because, as of now, this story makes Jayson Williams’ tale of playfully twirling a shotgun before the shooting death of his limo driver seem somewhat plausible.

http://blog.sportscolumn.com/story/2007/8/21/11310/3550



Yep, I did it, admits dirty ref

19 08 2007

Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy admitted yesterday to pocketing more than $30,000 by passing inside tips on games to pals in an illegal gambling ring.

The crooked ex-official whose dirty dealings soiled the reputation of the pro hoops game pleaded guilty to charges that could put him behind bars for 25 years.

Every time his tip was on the mark, the rogue official was paid $5,000.

“I was in a unique position to pick the outcome of NBA games,” Donaghy, 40, told a judge in Brooklyn Federal Court. “I received cash payments for successful picks. Some of my picks included games I had been assigned to referee.”

From the insider perch, Donaghy added, “I was aware of the manner in which officials interacted with players and called games, as well as the condition of players prior to a game.”

Federal prosecutors alleged that Donaghy was betting on games he refereed back to 2003. But he denied that yesterday as he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to transmit bets and wagers.

Donaghy said he used a special code to communicate his tips to his betting buddies, James Battista, 42, and Thomas Martino, 41, two ex-high school classmates also charged yesterday.

Battista’s lawyer Jack McMahon said outside court he expects Donaghy has made a deal with prosecutors and will give testimony against his client.

“Mr. Donaghy walked away with a nice situation for himself,” McMahon said. “He is the linchpin, and he seems to have worked his way into a nice situation. I don’t know if that is fair.”

In addition to jail time, Donaghy is facing fines totaling half a million dollars and has agreed to cough up the $30,000 in ill-gotten gains.

All three men were released after posting a $250,000 bond.

Donaghy, a 13-year NBA veteran, resigned July 9 after news surfaced that he was at the center of an FBI probe. The betting scheme was uncovered during an investigation into the Gambino crime family in Brooklyn, but none of the defendants has mob ties.

His lawyer said yesterday a gambling addiction led to his involvement.

“He’s had a severe gambling problem for awhile that went untreated,” said lawyer John Lauro.

Donaghy, who lives in Florida, also told Judge Carol Bagley Amon he was taking drugs for depression and anxiety.

“He expresses a great deal of remorse and concern about the pain that he’s caused his family, his friends and his co-workers,” Lauro said.

It was unclear yesterday whether others are involved in the gambling scandal, but U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf said the investigation is continuing.

NBA commissioner David Stern said the league was still reviewing its officiating program.

Lamell McMorris, a spokesman for the National Basketball Referees Association, the union representing game officials, said: “We recognize that a cloud has descended upon all referees. But we are committed to showing the public that this was an isolated event and that NBA officiating is conducted at the highest levels of honesty, integrity and fairness.”

Link



Arizona officials want information

16 08 2007

By Michael Kiefer, The Arizona Republic
PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas on Wednesday sent letters to NBA Commissioner David Stern and to the head of the FBI in Washington, D.C., asking that his office be given all information about Tim Donaghy’s handling of the two Phoenix Suns playoff games.
Thomas wants to know whether Donaghy gambled on the games, provided inside information to gamblers or helped determine the outcome.

“Specifically it has been reported that Mr. Donaghy refereed playoff series games between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers on April 29, 2007, and the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs on May 12, 2007,” Thomas wrote.

“If Mr. Donaghy purposely failed to officiate the games properly and his conduct resulted in changing the outcome of games, such conduct might have violated various Arizona criminal statutes and could be the subject of criminal prosecution.”

Thomas did not comment Wednesday, but Special Assistant County Attorney Barnett Lotstein said Arizona’s “long-arm statute” allows the county to prosecute. “If any element of the crime happened in our county, we have jurisdiction,” Lotstein said.

Among the possible felony charges are fraudulent schemes and artifices, which carries a possible prison term of three to 10 years; and bribery of participants in professional or amateur games, which carries a possible prison term of one to 3¾ years.



Goodfoulers

15 08 2007

By request:



National Basketball Association Referee Pleads Guilty to Participating In An Illegal Sports Betting Scheme Involving NBA Games

15 08 2007
Department of Justice Seal Department of Justice

United States Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf
Eastern District of New York

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2007
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/NYE

CONTACT:

ROBERT NARDOZA
OFFICE: (718) 254-6323

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION REFEREE PLEADS GUILTY TO PARTICIPATING IN AN ILLEGAL SPORTS BETTING SCHEME INVOLVING NBA GAMES

Two Coconspirators Also Charged

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Division, announced the guilty plea of Timothy Donaghy, age 40, a 13-year veteran referee with the National Basketball Association (NBA), in connection with his participation in an illegal sports betting scheme in which he received cash for making winning gambling “picks” on the outcome of NBA games, including games in which he officiated, relying on nonpublic and other information to which he had unique access by virtue of his position as an NBA referee. In addition, a complaint was unsealed this morning charging James Battista,

age 42, and Thomas Martino, age 41, for their participation in the NBA betting conspiracy.

Donaghy pled guilty this morning before United States District Judge Carol Bagley Amon to conspiracy to commit wire fraud as part of a scheme to deprive the NBA of his honest services and to conspiracy to transmit gambling information. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. Battista and Martino are scheduled to have their initial appearances later today before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr., at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The charges in the complaint against Battista and Martino are merely allegations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Battista and Martino each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Based on the plea proceedings and the court filings, for the past 13 years, including the 2006-2007 NBA season, Timothy Donaghy was employed as an NBA referee. Approximately four years ago, he began placing bets on NBA games, including games he officiated. At his guilty plea proceeding this morning, Donaghy admitted that in approximately December 2006 he began to receive cash payments from his coconspirators in exchange for providing them with betting recommendations or “picks” on NBA games, including games Donaghy officiated. Donaghy and a coconspirator agreed on a code that Donaghy would use over the telephone to indicate his picks. Donaghy admitted that he received payments from his coconspirators for each correct pick. Donaghy received no payment if his pick was incorrect.

In determining his picks for NBA games, Donaghy admitted that he relied on nonpublic and other information to which he had unique access by virtue of his position as an NBA referee. That information included his knowledge of the officiating crews for upcoming NBA games, the interactions between certain referees and certain players and team personnel, and the physical condition of certain players. In addition, Donaghy compromised his objectivity as a referee because of his personal financial interest in the outcome of NBA games. Donaghy admitted that he concealed this scheme from the NBA in order to prevent its detection.

“The participation of an official of one of the world’s premier sports leagues in an illegal betting scheme involving his own sport demonstrates the corrupting allure of easy money,” stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. “Today’s guilty plea and charges serve as a warning that seemingly easy money often comes at a high price.” Ms. Mauskopf praised the work of the FBI’s New York Division, the agency responsible for conducting the government’s investigation, and added that the investigation is ongoing.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon stated, “The appeal of legitimate professional sports is that the outcome of the competition is determined solely by the competitors. That an official – responsible to his sport, its teams, its players, and fans, and duty-bound to be impartial and incorruptible – placed bets on games he officiated undermines everyone’s faith in the integrity of the competition.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas J. Seigel and Jeffrey A. Goldberg.

Background

The NBA, headquartered in New York City, is a global sports and entertainment organization that includes a men’s professional basketball league of 30 teams located throughout the United States and Canada. The NBA employs approximately 60 referees who officiate pre-season, regular season, and playoff games between NBA teams. Each game has an officiating crew of three referees. NBA referees are subject to a collective bargaining agreement and to rules of conduct set by the NBA. Those rules of conduct require that NBA referees conduct themselves according to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and professionalism, as well as refrain from any conduct that may impair the faithful and thorough discharge of their duties. Among other things, NBA referees are generally prohibited from having any involvement in sports betting or bookmaking. In particular, NBA referees are prohibited from placing bets on NBA games and from providing information to others for the purpose of assisting them to place bets.

The NBA does not disclose the identities of an officiating crew to the public, or to NBA teams, until game time. However, the NBA does prepare master referee schedules listing the officiating crews for upcoming NBA games. These schedules are not disclosed to the public or to NBA teams. NBA referees are prohibited from disclosing upcoming referee assignments and other proprietary NBA information.

During the NBA season, professional bookmakers routinely predict the team favored to win each NBA game and set a point spread by which the favorite is expected to win. This prediction is referred to as the “betting line.” If a bettor selects the favored team, the better wins if that team wins the game by the predicted point spread or by a greater number of points. If a bettor selects the team that is not favored, the better wins if that team wins the game or loses by a lesser number of points than the predicted point spread.

 



Former NBA Ref Tim Donaghy to plead guilty Wednesday (8/15/07)

14 08 2007

By PAT MILTON, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK – Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy planned to plead guilty in federal court on Wednesday to charges alleging he wagered on games he officiated, a person familiar with the betting scandal probe said.

Donaghy was to surrender at Brooklyn federal court, the person said on condition of anonymity because Donaghy hadn’t turned himself in yet.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the AP the league was informed Tuesday that Donaghy would plead Wednesday but was given no further information.

Donaghy’s attorney, John Lauro, and federal prosecutors declined to comment. NBA commissioner David Stern said last month the referee’s lawyer told the league his client was contemplating a plea.

Besides allegedly placing his own wagers, investigators also examined whether Donaghy provided inside information to others, including referees’ schedules. The referee had a gambling problem and was approached by low-level mob associates through an acquaintance, a law enforcement official said.

The FBI first contacted the NBA on June 20 to talk about a referee alleged to be gambling on games, and the two sides met on June 21, Stern said last month. Donaghy resigned July 9 after 13 years as a referee, though Stern said he would have fired him sooner but was told it might affect the investigation.

Stern blamed a “rogue, isolated criminal” for the betting scandal that has devastated the league and threatened the credibility of every referee.

Donaghy was rated in the top tier of officials, Stern said, and there was nothing suspicious about the frequency of his foul calls. He was assigned to work in the second round of the playoffs, with his last NBA game coming during the Phoenix-San Antonio Western Conference semifinal.

No other NBA officials or players were expected to be involved in the scandal, which Stern called the “most serious situation and worst situation that I have ever experienced either as a fan of the NBA, a lawyer for the NBA or a commissioner of the NBA.”

Others outside the NBA are expected to be charged.