Tim Donaghy, the former NBA referee accused of betting on games he worked, came out with some accusations of his own, saying that the whole NBA officiating system is crooked.
The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS uncovers a court document filed by Donaghy’s lawyer claiming that league officials would “manipulate” refs to change the outcomes of of games. According to the document:
“League officials would tell referees that they should withhold calling technical fouls on certain star players because doing so hurt ticket sales and television ratings.”
Donaghy also claims that two refs working the 2002 playoffs were acting as “company men” in trying to extend a series to seven games. Could the fix have involved a certain big-name tenant of Staples Center?
The referees allegedly ignored flagrant fouls committed by the team that needed to win. They also reportedly called “made-up fouls” against the other team which led to the ejection of two of their players. The team favored by the refs won that night and the next game to win the series.
The document didn’t name teams or players, but Donaghy could possibly be referring to the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Lakers & Kings.
The matchup between L.A. and Sacramento was the only series that season that lasted seven games. Plus, the Lakers were behind 3 games to 2 but managed to win Game 6, aided by the ejections of the Kings’ Vlade Divac and Scot Pollard. Eventually, Shaq & Kobe & co. went on to win Game 7, then swept the Nets for the title.
So, did Dick Bavetta, Ted Bernhardt & Bob Delaney conspire with David Stern to secure the NBA championship trophy into Phil Jackson’s hands? Or is Donaghy just getting desperate?
Well, a Kings-Nets finals certainly wouldn’t be such a ratings-grabber.