There is compelling evidence that Donaghy engaged in such deplorable behavior. ESPN has reported that the first 15 NBA games Donaghy officiated last season in which betting action moved the Las Vegas line more than 11/2 points all resulted in big wins for those betting against Vegas.
According to gambling expert R.J. Bell of Pregame.com, the odds against that randomly happening 15 times in a row are 32,768 to 1. And it would take more than information about a sprained ankle or a referee’s dislike of a particular superstar to pull that off. It would take someone actively manipulating the final result of the game.
Donaghy was able to do all this in front of tens of thousands of paying fans, in front of TV cameras and expert commentators, with veteran coaches and players involved in the games he was officiating. These are crimes with countless eyewitnesses, yet not one of them had the slightest idea what was happening in plain sight.
NBA commissioner David Stern knew immediately how bad that is for the league. He said as much from the beginning. Donaghy’s activities make all those conspiracy theories about scripted outcomes and shady goings-on seem tame by comparison. From now on, neither Stern nor anyone else in the NBA can scoff at those rumors.
Donaghy not only managed to avoid detection, he was also highly rated by his supervisors and given playoff assignments based on merit. This is like winning employee-of-the-month honors while you’re embezzling millions of dollars in company funds. So it follows that if Donaghy was able to pull this off, others may be every bit as crooked.
INQUIRER: Money Changes Everything