Tim Donaghy

Are you ready for the Tim Donaghy story to be told in the trailers for the Sportsbook commercials? The big leagues will dive into sports gambling in tandems, while we get reminded of the sports scandals of the 21st century.

In the 20th century, shaving points and players receiving money was an issue. There was a scandal from the 1919 World Series, the 1951 CCNY, and the 1978-79 Boston College. Pete Rose has been banned from baseball for 30 years for betting on baseball despite no evidence of him fixing games, and Calvin Ridley has been suspended for a year by the NFL for using steroids.

There is a moment in the 21st century that could compromise the NBA. The former referee served time in a federal penitentiary for his involvement in a scandal in which he was gambling on games that he was not supposed to. According to the New York Daily News, the disgraced referee is involved with a film about the Donaghy scandal.

Donaghy has always denied fixing games, but that wasn't what landed him in prison. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison for wire fraud and conspiracy to transmit gambling information after he admitted to betting on games in which he was an official. The NBA has denied that he fixed games in any way, as well as accusations that other referees were involved in with Donaghy or compromised the games in which they worked.

The Donaghy controversy comes back into public consciousness often and then fades away before you finish reading. In 2009, when Donaghy was about to be released from prison, Deadspin published excerpts from his book that would later be published with the title, Personal Foul: A First- Person Account of the Scandal that Rocked the NBA. In the book he talks about the tendencies of referees and the culture of NBA refs. Donaghy accused the league in the notices of what to look for, what to call more often, and side wagers about which referee would be the first to call an infraction. Donaghy claimed to be able to pick games with such accuracy. The book was published by a smaller house because the NBA threatened to file a lawsuit.

Once released, Donaghy would offer his expertise in officiating at times to Deadspin, analyzing how referees were performing as well as pointing out where some biases might be at play. He was a featured personality in the documentary Dirty Games about the ugly side of sports. The film about Donaghy was released in 2019. The report was published by the sports network.

The FBI agent who headed up Tim Donaghy's case was one of the people who author Scott Eden spoke to. The FBI's lead investigators on the five New York Mafia families were Phil Scala, who was in charge of the agency's work on the Gambino family. If this documentary is going to be truly informative and gripping, he has to be in it.

Donaghy never fixed any of the games that he worked and bet on. You threw the game because you were betting on the game.

The NBA was hurt the most by Donaghy's gambling because of his distrust of the party. The league would always tell him that it was impossible to fix an NBA game. He regrets telling the NBA about Donaghy's betting on games he worked. The FBI was going to wire tap Donaghy to find out if other NBA referees were involved in the same operation that generated hundreds of millions of dollars. The New York Post cover story that broke the news to the world was published before anything could be set up.

When a person has been disgraced in the way that he has, his appearance is about more than just him defending himself, and that's what Donaghy is going to show in the documentary. I think I have a better understanding of Lance Armstrong as a person, and still firmly believe that he is a jerk, after watching the 30 for 30 about him.

I am interested in the news of a Tim Donaghy documentary. The new Cocaine Cowboys, Jeffery Epstein: Filthy Rich, and Fyre are all documentaries. The timing of this Donaghy documentary, when so many commercials aired during professional sporting events are for cryptocurrencies and sports betting, might make people think about what happened two decades ago and look at what they are watching more carefully. Maybe it can make the NBA realize it needs to seriously address the problem that Chris Paul has not ever won a playoff game in which Scott Foster referreed, and it's such a well-known fact that ABC aired the two appearing to make amends prior to Game 6. Paul lost a playoff game last week.

It isn't about whether sports betting should be done in the shadows or in the light. To find out where integrity is vulnerable and strengthen it is what it is about.

I'm mostly here for a Donaghy documentary to see the mess and contradictions. Maybe those need to be put out into the open so pro sports can do more than just say "this will never happen again", but take the proper steps to make sure that assurance is closer to fact than it is to an aspiration.