How would you like to be referee Tim Donaghy? This poor guys is going down in history as a sports villian. The league is going to have to come down hard on him just to send a message at how serious this is. The feds are going to have to come down hard on him if not just to justify the whole Bonds stuff (if they’re going after Barry for steroids, what does Donaghy guy deserve?).
It’s kind of ironic that this is happening to the NBA. David Stern is so concerned about the image of the league, he instituted a dress code, an age limit and replaced the new ball the players hated. Now it comes out that the NBA knew about the gambling problem and investigated him, but still let him ref games.
Turns out ghetto young black men aren’t the league’s only eye sore, certainly not its worst. A middle-of-the-road referee with a gambling problem is making Allen Iverson look like a Good Samaritan. It’s easy to say, what can you do about it? Not much. Shady people do shady things, and they are generally good about hiding their shady-ness.
For starters, refs have to be paid more. That’s across the board in all sports — especially the NFL, which have part time referees.
Secondly, the refs need to be accessable to the media. It is the media who finds these things out. It is the media that gets close to public figures and find out the dirt in their lives so they can reveal it. Imagine if the media had a chance to interrogate referees about their calls and their decisions. Referees would be much more apt to be sure about their whistle. As it is now, it is just accepted that they make terrible calls (I don’t care how much they are tested and watched), so their is no accountability.
This is going to hurt the league, and it better put the NFL and MLB on guard. If you think Donaghy’s the only one, you’re crazy. Gambling is a major problem in this country, and sports’ participants aren’t immune.