What Tim Donaghy did wrong, in his own words

Ball Don’t Lie published its interview with disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy. Here’s what he admits to doing wrong…

Well, I don’t want to say there were certain officials I stayed away from — rather, that there were specific officials that I went after. And it was a situation where I looked for the games that they were on, more or less … I looked to see where certain officials refereed, whether it was a home or away game, what happened the last time they worked a particular team, and who else they were with. And I was able to come to a conclusion of what I felt the betting line should be, and I would look at the newspaper and if it was a difference of four or five points, I would tell people to bet the game.

But did Donaghy manipulate any games to benefit himself or others?

BDL: You’ve maintained that while you did use inside info to decide which teams to pick, you never took any action on the court to fix games or influence scores so they’d come out in your favor. Well, why not? You’ve described yourself in the book as being pretty far down the rabbit hole as a gambler, somebody primarily concerned with the rush and the money, and not with the consequences. Where’s the distinction in your eyes?

TD: I think the distinction is because I didn’t want to be detected. I’m doing something that’s wrong, and I don’t want to be detected. So how am I going to be detected? I’m going to be detected if I’m making incorrect calls on a continuous basis to affect these games so that the bets would cover. I mean, red flags would be thrown up all over the place and the NBA or the FBI certainly would have detected this well before it was detected. It was just something that I was not willing and not wanting to do.

BDL: But by the same token, you write about other officials taking these same sorts of actions in virtually every game — you call it “a culture of favoritism and manipulation … that often affected the outcome of games.” There’s some plausible deniability, according to what you’re saying, if other refs make these kinds of calls every night.

TD: They do, and I used that information to place winning bets on games. But the bottom line is, the FBI did a thorough investigation into the bets I made, the games that were bet on. They reviewed the tapes and they came to the conclusion, as [did] the NBA, that I was not making calls in these games to influence the outcome of a bet that I placed.

Do you buy any of this?

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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