Jimmy "The Sheep" Battista pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transmit
wagering information in connection with disgraced NBA official Tim
Donaghy and served 15 months in federal prison.
The source also tells 7Sports that Battista claims he has the phone records to prove his contact with these 13 referees.
Donaghy served 15 months in federal prison for providing inside tips
on NBA games to a professional gambler in exchange for money.
When the scandal broke in June of 2008, NBA commissioner David Stern called Donaghy a "rogue, isolated criminal."
The source tells 7Sports that Battista says he had a "Big-5" of
dependable referees with Tim Donaghy being the "King" as Battista
called him, who the gambler says delivered a winning bet 78 percent of
the time in games he officiated.
I would not be surprised at all, if these allegations are true. When the Donaghy scandal broke, most of us had a hard time believing he acted alone.
The media coverage of this story is puzzling.
HBO's Real Sports did an interview with Battista that was supposed to air last night (I cannot confirm it actually aired). According to this report in the NY Post, there's mention of the other referees. ESPN has yet to touch the new claims, apparently all their reporters are busy covering the "Vince Young high-fiving a referee story" from Monday night.
I also wouldn't be surprised if WHDH eventually retracted this story, because they have minimal standards when it comes to reporting "news."
(h/t to Scott)