Tim Donaghy’s ringleader speaks | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Tim Donaghy’s ringleader speaks

TrueHoop has a must-read today about the man who ran all the money in the Tim Donaghy scandal.  James Battista is giving an account of the entire scandal that jives with what the rest of the co-conspirators and the FBI found…. and less with what Donaghy claims about mafia involvement and not fixing NBA games.  And as far as we're concerned, as fans of the NBA… it's the fixing that we're most concerned about.  Donaghy says he hasn't… the evidence suggests otherwise.

Late in the book, in a footnote, Griffin makes something of a "game, set, match" observation. Donaghy told authorities, and Battista confirms, that Donaghy and Martino used a secret code to communicate picks over the phone. "If Donaghy mentioned Martino's brother Chuck (who lived in the Philadelphia area), the pick would be the home team," the U.S. attorney explained in a letter to the judge. "If, on the other hand, Donaghy mentioned Martino's brother Johnny (who did not live in the Philadelphia area), the pick would be the visiting team." 

That the three conspirators agree on this point is proof positive that the conspiracy was about games Donaghy reffed. Such a code would not work in a world where, as Donaghy alleges, the three were looking to exploit his leaguewide insight on a regular basis. This code assumes everyone knows which of the NBA's many games they're talking about. 

Battista also points out that Donaghy was religious about checking with Martino, before games he reffed, to find out the point spread Battista had been able to get. That's information that would be essential for a game-fixer, but a curio otherwise. 

[…] As of today, all four conspirators — Donaghy, Ruggieri, Martino and Battista — have talked in some fashion or another. Ruggieri, Martino and Battista all agree that the only picks from Donaghy that mattered were picks on games he refereed. 

"Being able to control the outcomes," says Battista, "was the big reason he won his games. That was why he couldn't pick those other games." 

Of course, that leaves Donaghy alone with this theory, and credibility issues. 

This just makes me think Tim Donaghy fixed games.  He risked the integrity of a multi-billion dollar entity because he saw a way to manipulate games for his own gain.  

Did he act alone?  We don't know for sure, but I sure as hell hope so.  Could it happen again?  Absolutely. 

Take a look at the Celtics-Heat game.  For about 38 minutes, the game was called loosely.  Guys were allowed to play physically, some calls that could have been made, weren't.  Then, late in the 4th quarter, things changed on a dime.  Plays that were allowed earlier in the game were suddenly fouls.  For about a four minute stretch, the game was called tight.  And then, just as suddenly, things loosened up again. 

Was it a conspiracy?  Was it an anomaly?  Was someone covering a spread, or was someone just trying to make sure the game didn't get out of control?  The sad thing is, each side can make a case.  And that's the NBA's problem. 

The more that comes out about Donaghy, the more he is shown to be a dirty ref, and a dirty person who will say and do anything for his own personal gain.  The NBA needs to look at its officiating situation and make necessary changes to protect the integrity of its league.  I don't believe in vast conspiracies to fix games and the league… but the NBA needs to do a better job of not giving those who do so much ammunition.

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  • Mike Munger-Return to the Rafters

    So even though Donaghy was proven to be telling the truth by the FBI, THIS is the guy that people will believe?? Stop it. Facts are the NBA is just as guilty in the whole situation. And anyone who is still under the belief that Stern and Co. are completely innocent is in flat out denial. It disgusts me how someone is labeled a Conspiracy Theorist if you believe the facts and evidence. The “I’m better than you” vibe certain people have when it comes to this topic is just as disgusting.

  • Classless

    Donaghy reffed the infamous 2001 Kings/Lakers playoff game 7, right? Notice how LA gets an abundance of free throws in game 7’s?

  • Mike Munger-Return to the Rafters

    Game 6 of the WCF in 2002 is the most infamous game between LA and Sacramento. The Kings were up 3-2 in the series, CLEARLY the better team, and in game 6 the Lakers got 27 free throws IN THE 4TH QUARTER.

  • TJames

    The Kings/Lakers game was a complete scandal. I have to agree, the NBA is guilty here. It’s not just Donaghy. David Stern is dirty. He’ll do what it takes to get money. Anyone ever watched the 1985 NBA Draft? Rigged for Patrick Ewing to go to the NY Knicks. Why? David Stern from the NY area, NY has a huge market. Google the 1985 NBA Draft, the most viewed youtube video proves it.

  • Mike Munger-Return to the Rafters

    Oh no you can’t say that kind of thing. The “Holier than thou” crowd will ask why NY didn’t win a ring after they got Ewing. Those same people will also dismiss the fact that Phil Jackson was a Knicks player as coincidence.

  • JD

    Maybe if the officials called the game consistently(don’t loosen and tighten up on the calls sporadically throughout the game and get rid of susperstar/team calls. A foul for Avery Bradley/Celtics should be the same as a fould for Lebron James/Heat.

  • DRJ

    There is no doubt now that that game was fixed.

  • DRJ

    It doesn’t have to be “vast conspiracies to fix games and the league.” Small conspiracies, in series, do just as much damage. The flipped-switch nature of the abrupt change in officiating in the 4th quarter of the Heat game was very remarkable. And it did not benefit the Celtics, btw. I can’t think of an explanation that does not include manipulation of some kind by the refs.
    If they want to get more fans, and stop the suspicion most of us harbor, there are some easy paths for them to follow, the easiest of which would involve the use of the video technology that is ALREADY BUILT INTO every arena in the country. One referee assigned to video, with the power to override on-court decisions, would go a very long way to restoring confidence in the NBA’s integrity.

  • Mike Munger-Return to the Rafters

    But according to Heir Stern there’s nothing wrong with NBA officiating. If there was replay, that would be like saying his stooges with whistles were incompetent and that would make him look bad.