Ex-NBA referee sentenced in gambling scandal

Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy pled guilty to federal felony conspiracy charges alleging that he passed along inside information on NBA games.

Donaghy also alleges that referees helped alter the outcomes of games during the ’02 and ’05 postseasons.

According to the Associated Press and ESPN.com:

Disgraced ex-NBA official Tim Donaghy admitted that he’d brought shame on his profession Tuesday as a federal judge sentenced him to 15 months behind bars for his participation in a gambling scandal that still has the league on the defensive.

U.S. District Judge Carol Amon sentenced Donaghy to prison time, plus three years of supervised release, saying he’d let the sport down by taking thousands of dollars from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips on games — including ones he refereed.

Mr. Donaghy’s attorney argued that an addiction to gambling motivated the former referee:

Defense attorney John Lauro asked Amon to give his 41-year-old client probation, saying the ex-official was a gambling addict who destroyed “the career he loved” and needed treatment, not incarceration.

What moves the NBA will take to prevent a problem of this magnitude again remains to be seen, but the Commissioner David Stern has been clear that current referees are under a watchful eye and that this incident was simply a “lone” referee. ESPN.com explains:

Case closed for him. For the NBA, the damage lingers.

Commissioner David Stern has made several moves to quell doubts about the integrity of the NBA’s officiating, with more developments to come


Tim Donaghy Timeline

June ’07: FBI contacts NBA to discuss alleged betting probe
July ’07: Resigns from NBA, investigated as part of organized-crime probe in New York
Aug. ’07: Pleads guilty to two felony charges alleging he took cash payoffs from gamblers and bet on games himself
June ’08: Claims highly controversial Game 6 of the Lakers-Kings 2002 playoff series was affected by actions of 2 of 3 referees who worked the game
July 29, 2008: Sentenced to 15-month prison term (had faced up to 33 months) and three-year term of supervised release
For More Information

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