Remember Tim Donaghy? NBA commissioner David Stern sure does. See, he’s the referee who was convicted of accepting large sums of cash from gamblers in return for providing inside information on games he was working. He served 15 months in prison for the conviction, was released, then was sent back for violating his parole. Now, to top it off, he’s written a book detailing his transgressions, and the transgressions of the referees he worked with during his NBA tenure. That’s right, he wasn’t alone.
In his book he explains in detail how referees would conspire to keep games close to keep ratings up, make bets amongst themselves about calling fouls, and even swing the tide of playoff games to force longer series (and therefore keep the sponsors happy). Basically the worst possible things you could allege referees in any sport are doing. The sorts of things that call the league’s competitive credibility into question. The sorts of things that make you wonder what the difference is between pro basketball and pro wrestling. The sorts of things that could bring a league to its knees. And make me very, very happy.
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