View Full Version : The NBA Fix: Does It Affect The NFL?

07-22-2007, 10:24 PM
The NBA Fix: Does It Affect The NFL?
Jerry Jones

By Mike Fisher
LINK (http://cowboys.scout.com/a.z?s=112&p=2&c=660375)

A 13-year veteran referee named Tim Donaghy has for the last two seasons been involved in betting on games and in making calls in games that affected point spreads, says The New York Post in an exclusive story that says the ref is part of an FBI organized-crime probe.

The FBI is reportedly set to arrest the ref and “a cadre of mobsters,’’ reports the paper, adding that the NBA is saying, “We have been asked by the FBI, with whom we are working closely, not to comment on this matter at this time.’’

NBA commissioner David Stern’s office is “working closely with the FBI’’? Take a guess at how proactive NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s office will be on this thing.

Mavs owner Cuban has for years tossed out little hint-hint notions regarding stuff like this. We’ve always been skeptical. But step away from your DFW focus for a moment. Step away from Cuban’s referee-centric actions. This is the biggest sports story of the year. ... at least. And not just in basketball.

If it can happen in that sport, it can happen in this sport. … especially because of the part-time nature of NFL refs. That and more assorted thoughts as pro leagues, the media, the public, and quite ominously, the FBI, collect facts:

ITEM: All of sports is going to be rocked to its foundation. We knew a single ref can effect the outcome of a game. And now, assuming the accusations are true, one obviously has. Forever more, if a team receives a bad call in a game (or even a perceived bad call), the anger and distrust rises to a whole new level.

ITEM: This could be called “the original sin’’ for a sports league. That’s a solid take. It’s hard to overcome original sin. It’s hard for one league’s original sin to avoid poisoning another.

ITEM: There is a perception that “the NBA was powerless to stop this.’’ Maybe. Unless they just didn’t care. Or maybe were complicit. … and see? We told you the distrust would rise to a whole new level.

ITEM: Which games were affected? Important games? Playoff games? Think about this story for a minute and tell me, as you reflect back, it doesn’t cause you to wonder about that holding call that negated a touchdown. …

ITEM: Fans of “real’’ sports like to make fun of the WWF. We even make fun of the WNBA, because the coverage is “rigged.’’ But what if the NBA doesn’t represent a truly fair playing field? What if there is a little too much WWF flavor in all our sports?

ITEM: "Cadre of Mobsters.'' Wasn't that an old Edward G. Robinson movie? You know how rarely you see the word "cadre'' in a sports story? I'm a relatively smart boy, and I'm not completely certain how to even pronounce "cadre.''

ITEM: At this moment, as we write this, the story remains a mild curiosity. But this thing will have legs. Without the trust that it’s on the level, sports as we know it ceases to exist. Seriously, it’s that huge. I mean, pretend we find out that this happens in the NFL, too. Or that the league really, really does prefer that big-market teams win. Why would we keep watching? For the pretty uniforms?

ITEM: Can the NBA and Chancellor Stern sit on this? Downplay it? Bury it? I like the “bury it’’ analogy, since it sounds so much like something done in Michael Vick’s backyard. Again, watch for the NFL to issue a statement soon, assuring that its already got its system of Checks and Balances in place in order to avoid such a disaster.

ITEM: Let’s go back to those specific rigged games in the NBA. What if a championship – and billions of dollars – were lost? What if if was a Memphis-Milwaukee game that we’d bet on? Can I have my seven bucks refunded? See how it unravels most everything?

ITEM: We bet the NBA – and Stern – will make quite a show of dismissing this ref and of “conducting a vigorous in-house investigation.’’ (Can’t you just see him mouthing those exact words?) And we think it won’t be enough. This will require a major fix. … No, not that kind of fix. Stern might want to call Goodell and seek advice. After all, the Vick thing is a mess. But it’s being contained, it’s being handled, and it’s ONE idiot affecting ONE team. Cheating refs? That poisons the entire well.

ITEM: If there is one dirty ref. … and he’s close buddies with assorted other refs. … and they are a band of brothers. … and they room together, travel together, drink together. … is there ONLY one dirty ref? And the unavoidable assumption: If the mob can get to hoops, why can’t they push their foot into the door of football?

ITEM: Are you getting the magnitude of this yet? Baseball dumped Pete Rose for MAYBE betting on baseball. … This is bigger. Alex Karras and Paul Hornung? Oh, this is infinitely bigger.

ITEM: It’ll be fun to monitor ESPN’s coverage of this story, being a corporate partner of the NBA and all.

ITEM: Over the years, people like Cuban have been assessed huge financial penalties for even hinting that a ref might have a bias. Do they get their dough back? Or at least an apology? If NFL people start whispering things, start questioning things, should they get fined? Or do they deserve a medal?

ITEM: One thing about the NFL that is different than the NBA here: Pro basketball has always smelled this way, if only because it’s accepted practice to issue “superstar calls,’’ to make “rookies pay their dues,’’ “that’s a make-up call,’’ and the like. Luckily, we don’t hear too much of that in the NFL; “Oh, they awarded him a first down just because he’s LT.’’

ITEM: David Stern’s historic smugness on this issue now looks more galling than ever. At the All-Star Game in Las Vegas in Feb 2007, Stern said he is not at all worried about games being fixed and that the league is in full control of things. He said a team in Las Vegas doesn't bother the league. It was a very smug declaration. Doesn't this call into question his competence and wisdom? Meanwhile, Goodell has done a nice job from the start portraying himself as The Bad-*** Sheriff In The White Hat. Goodell is Gary Cooper in "High Noon.'' Right now, David Stern is Judge Smails in "Caddyshack.''

ITEM: Do you just fire the ref? Or do you also fire the ref’s boss? And his boss? And his? This is happening on Stern's watch as commissioner. And he has repeatedly been quite flippant about ref performance and accountability while focusing on plastic basketballs and baggy jeans. Doesn’t he come across now as having served as "Commissioner of the Titanic"? (As Goodell would’ve appeared to be had he ignored Pacman and Vick and Tank and these other dopes’ actions.)

ITEM: Cuban's persistent focus on ref performance (and his battles with Stern on that subject) is now amazingly insightful. The work Cuban has done has caused the NBA’s system to improve. Again, he knew SOMETHING all along. What Cuban has always believed is that Bad Refs = Bad Sport. So he’s tried to repair things. The irony here: The person most qualified, because of his history and passion, to lead the NBA into a clean era might just be. … Mark Cuban himself. (Not unlike the NFL finally figured out it should put Jerry Jones in charge of some stuff.)

ITEM: In summary, it would be wise for the NFL (and its fans) to not simply say, “Too bad for them. It couldn’t happen to us. We’re on top.’’ Because 1) it could happen directly to the NFL and 2) indirectly, because of this story, aftershocks are already inevitable.

07-25-2007, 10:56 AM
Watch some tin-hatter connect this article to Super Bowl XL. :banging:

07-25-2007, 12:47 PM
This does bring up an interesting point.... Let's flash back to the 2005 playoff game between the Steelers and Colts. Steelers are up big, Troy intercepts the ball game over! Wait a minute... there is a challenge on the play :cursin: Ref goes to his camera, puts on his headphones to listen to the booth upstairs nobody know what they are saying :dunno: Refs comes to midfield overturns the play and it's still the Colts ball and it allowed them to get back into the game and almost win it!! There were a lot of bad calls in that game and almost cost the Steelers the game, so who is to say it's not going on in the NFL?

07-26-2007, 02:21 PM
Watch some tin-hatter connect this article to Super Bowl XL. :banging:

Thats the first thing that popped up in my mind also.

There were a lot of bad calls in that game and almost cost the Steelers the game, so who is to say it's not going on in the NFL?

AZ, remember the Thanksgiving Day game overtime coin toss.:banging:

It makes me wonder sometimes. Heck even with baseball with a perfect pitch over the plate called a ball and then another 4 feet outside called a strike.:dunno: