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Sunday, May 20, 2018

I Helped Fix NBA Games, Too

Every sport has its problems. Baseball has the taint of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs (viagra, anyone?), football has PEDs as well, not to mention cheating coaches, and basketball has referees shaving points. The problem for the other sports? They should be blessed with enough fans to make a controversy this big of a deal. Anyway, I don’t think it took Donaghy saying it for you and I to know that stars get preferential treatment. Who knows if refs were actually reprimanded after the fact for ejecting or fouling a star out in a game. That’s just speculative. But the stars get preferential treatment — we deal with it. Same thing happens in baseball with hitters who have reputations of good batting eyes and pitchers who work the corners — they all get the calls. In football, respected lineman don’t get nabbed for the holds while the rookies do. Just the way it works.

The problem with the NBA, much like boxing and football, is that too much of the outcome is put into the subjective hands of the officials. They have biases, they’re not all honest, and in fact, many of them can be on the take. It’s disgusting when you start to think about how much they could have impacted games you’ve watched in the past. They make you question decisions and calls. The tuck rule? The pass interference on Miami? The Roy Jones Jr. ’88 Olympics decision? These are just a few examples of many. It’s sad that we can no longer watch sports and know that we are always watching a pure entity.

Donaghy may be a piece of crap who is singing like a canary, but his words can’t be completely ignored. It’s not just in basketball where the corruption is occurring — it’s bound to happen in any sport where judgment is subjective and not black and white. It’s a shame it has to ruin sports for us in a way. I usually like to come to some sort of coherent resolution in my writings, but I think the best advice I can deliver is to tell you to ignore this when you’re watching games. If you’re constantly worrying about who’s on the take and what’s fixed and what isn’t, it will take the enjoyment out of everything. Besides, if a player takes matters into his hand by hitting a home run, throwing a touchdown pass, nailing a three pointer, or recording a knockout, then the refs really can’t do too much about it anyway (I take that back, sometimes they create new rules or reverse/alter outcomes). At least we can take solace in knowing that some aspects of sports can’t be fixed and that professional athletes make too much money to be involved with this (we hope).

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