Saturday, July 21, 2007

RE: NBA Ref May Have Bet on Own Games [David Stefanini]

First I would like to say I think this is my fault. It seems this week all of my favorites are being thrown into the flames of hell. First we had the Michael Vick incident. This is my idol, the man I said I was when I was in the school yard in 8th grade running around the opponents left and right. Now the game I love the most, basketball, is coming under fire.

I can not agree with J. Mark English any more. When he says, "I don't think people quite realize or grasp the concept that gambling in sports from the very people involved in that sport is a cardinal sin" he can not be more correct. It seems a lot of us turn the other way or say it is ok, but the fact is it simply isn't.

If it turns out over the past few years this NBA official has been shaving points off a game this will be catastrophic to the NBA. Right now they are the third out of the four major sports in America. They will likely never catch baseball or football, and certainly will never fall below hockey (if that still is a sport). But the scars this will leave on the game will be tremendous, and people will not be able to turn the other way. Many fans would not be able to find it in them to trust the league.

Just think about it; if someone who has this much control on the game is betting on the game, and therefore trying to control the outcome that rightfully destroys any trust the fan could have in that league. David Stern has tried to clean up the image of the NBA with the dress code and the 'must play in college' rule; but as Mark said, this is going to harm the league far greater than any dress code or age of a player ever could. The NBA is going to have to make sure that no other NBA refs were involved in this other than Tim Donaghy.

Now I am a fan of due process, and in the case with Vick I think we should find evidence, and then convict because you are innocent until proven guilty. But all the reports I am hearing from numerous media posts does not look good for Tim. The FBI has him linked to countless games over at least the past 2 NBA seasons, probably more.

To go along with Mark English and myself, here is Marc Stein with his thoughts:

It's hard to believe that Barry Bonds can probably claim a greater share of the public's trust than the NBA at large, but that's the ugly reality confronting Stern. As even Stern himself termed it in a statement issued Friday afternoon, Donaghy is accused of betraying "the most sacred trust in professional sports."

To be completely honest, the story completely turns my stomach. I always knew it was a possibility but I never thought it could be a reality. Things like this are not supposed to happen. As Stein said, this is the "most sacred trust in professional sports." I now have the thought in my head that the some of the NBA games I watched as a kid were fixed, and it just makes me sick.

Even if the official is found innocent, the trust will still be greatly hurt. David Stern has to pray that Peyton Manning is tied to Michael Vick's dog fighting to get the headlines off the NBA. And even if Manning was to be found to have involvement, the NBA will still have much more severe long-term negative effects than the NFL could.

One last thing: Mark, please do not say Michael Jordan's story book ending was fabricated. He is my hero and if it is true, lets just imagine it isn't and never bring that up again.

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