Tuesday, July 24, 2007

David Stern Press Conference [David Stefanini]

From David Stern's press conference:

Good morning. We're here today to discuss the ongoing investigation into certain allegations about NBA referee, Tim Donaghy.

What I propose to do is to tell you what our procedures are with respect to referees and gambling; what we can or cannot tell you and why there are certain things we can't tell you that might have made it easier not to have this press conference at this time, but we thought it was our obligation to have it; what previous actions we have known about with respect to Mr. Donaghy, what we did about those, and what we are permitted to say about Mr. Donaghy and the investigation and when we learned about those facts. And then I'll open it up to questions and spend quite a bit of time here to satisfy you on all of the things that I'm able to.

The first thing that I would like to say is that our rules are crystal clear; that referees may not either gamble on our games; or, provide information to anyone about those games. We, you know, have a rule that says you're subject to discipline, which would most likely be expulsion from the league and the job. We educate our referees intensely. We have training camp presentations, we have brochures we distribute work rules , they are visited by security, and we give them copies of compliance plans and the like that make it clear that not only aren't they permitted to either gamble or provide information to people; they may not even provide other than to their immediate family the details of their travel schedules or the games they are going to work.

We take these rules seriously. We have a security department that is large. It's headed by Bernie Tolbert, the senior vice president of security, former FBI, head of the Buffalo office second in command at Philadelphia who has a background in undercover work. We have in house representatives that are from Secret Service, U.S. Army, New York Police Department, and New York State Police Investigation.

We, in addition, have a security network that includes a security representative with respect to every NBA team. Those security representatives are routinely judged and either changed as appropriate, and instructed on the ground to be listening to what goes on, what they hear, what they see, what they can observe. And those security representatives are for the most part either FBI retired, local police, in some cases DEA. And we are permitted by work rules, some of them are actually functioning in their regular capacity for local PD and working for us at the team level.

In addition to the constant communication with our security represents of what goes on in the cities, we are in continuous conversation with DEA, the FBI section on organized crime which deals with sports betting, and with the Homeland Security Department. Our security department operates rather extensively, and has actually been beefed up more recently with respect to its activities in connection with Homeland Security, which occupies since 9/11 a more substantial time, a more substantial amount of its time.

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