Naive to think fixes haven’t been common

19 05 2008

by Michael Rosenberg, Special to

Updated: May 19, 2008, 1:18 PM EST

280 comments add this


If you watched much of the NBA in recent years, you might have gotten duped at some point. Former referee Tim Donaghy bet on 14 games that he worked in 2006-07, according to court filings.

Please, please, PLEASE: Do not be surprised.

It is not a surprise that Donaghy bet on games; this was fairly apparent last summer, when he was arrested. It is not a surprise that he bet on games in which he officiated; this too was evident.

And we should not have been surprised last summer, when the news broke. The sports world is in denial about gambling.

We think point-shaving is extremely rare and isolated, mostly because that’s what we want to believe. We think of Donaghy as a rogue criminal, because it’s easier to think of him that way. But enough point-shaving scandals have emerged in the last 20 years to make fans and executives re-evaluate the threat.

Consider that A) gambling is an addiction that leads people to commit acts out of desperation, for money; B) basically every game you watch is fixable, since every game is gambled upon; and C) well, do you really need a C?

No matter the sport, we watch because we assume the outcome is not pre-determined.



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