The former referee that David Stern would prefer be labeled a “rogue official” is back once again, and this time slinging a few accusations that the NBA was playing favorites in playoff series over the years, lending even more credence to every conspiracy theory and belief in home cooking-style officiating.
As deduced by ESPN, the series in question would be the 2002 Kings-Lakers conference finals (the Game 6 that had Kings fans up in arms) and a 2006 playoff series between the Rockets and the Mavs (the one where Jeff Van Gundy got out of sorts over targeting of Yao Ming.) Thankfully, the Four Letter links to the PDF files of the letter written by Donaghy’s lawyer as well as the NBA’s claim for $1 million dollars in restitution, which I presume is what spurred this letter.
Stern ought to, no, HAS to reveal every single bit of the NBA’s investigation into this matter right now. This is paramount to the sanctity of the league. Any and all accusations of coordination between the league and officials would be the equivalent of 10,000 Malices at the Palace if discovered to have a grain of truth to them. This perception becomes ten times as dangerous if it is actually rooted in reality, and that’s not something we ought to have in one of the big professional sports leagues.
As for the implications regarding Donaghy’s credibility: I understand and acknowledge them freely, but what always gets me in these situations of “singing” witnesses is the basic question of why someone would risk further punishment of perjury if what he or she tells federal authorities turns out to be complete bunk. Donaghy may well be slinging mud, but the NBA needs to be able to answer forcefully with proof that it does not manipulate outcomes.
So, regardless of whether Donaghy’s legal team wins its request to open the NBA’s investigation into the rogue official, it ought to release all of it — freely, on its own, to the media, and for all to judge.
There is really no other choice that can save face.