Tim Donaghy: NBA has told refs to give Nets calls over Raptors
Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy has not officiated a professional basketball game since 2007, but he does not believe much has changed for the league since he was caught betting on games and ended up in prison. In fact, Donaghy thinks the Toronto Raptors will have to beat both the Brooklyn Nets and the officials if they want to advance to the next round of the playoffs.
During an interview with “The Jeff Blair Show” on Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Tuesday, Donaghy spoke about how he believes the NBA has put the Raptors at a disadvantage.
“They’re not only going against the Brooklyn Nets but going against the league office,” Donaghy said. “They have a very talented team and have to be that much better than the Brooklyn Nets. I have picked Brooklyn to win the series with (Paul) Pierce, (Kevin) Garnett, Joe Johnson and even Jason Kidd. When you look at the coaches – the referees are going to be more active to talk and respond to (Kidd) over (Raptors coach) Dwane Casey.”
Not only does Donaghy believe the refs will have more dialogue with Kidd, he also said the league meets with its officials before each playoff game to go over what they want called and don’t want called. In this instance, Donaghy insists the guys in stripes have been told to give the Nets an advantage.
“What they do is they actually send in a representative from the league office to sit down with the referees at an 11 o’clock meeting in the morning where they go over game film,” Donaghy said. “They will show the referees what they want called, what they want them to concentrate on, what they feel needs to be called or let go in a series to avoid any problems.
“In this situation, Brooklyn would be put at an advantage. A Brooklyn-Miami matchup would bring great ratings and that’s what this is all about for the NBA and the league offices – bringing in as many dollars as they can.”
The Nets-Raptors series is currently tied 1-1. When Brooklyn took Game 1, Raptors fans were upset that the Nets went most of the fourth quarter without having a foul called against them. Donaghy said that is not a surprise since officials are graded on what they are told to call and are more likely to climb up the ranks if they follow instructions.
“It started with Michael Jordan,” Donaghy explained. “The referees used to tell the younger referees that if Jordan goes to the hole and if there’s a crowd in there then just blow the whistle. That’s what the refs are programmed (to do) – to give that star player the benefit of the doubt. Even when he commits a foul, if you can give a foul to another player in that area – that’s what you’re told to do.”
Not surprisingly, the NBA released a statement in response to Donaghy’s comments basically urging people to consider the source.
“Tim Donaghy is a convicted felon looking for any opportunity for people to listen to his baseless allegations. For Mr. Donaghy to continually try to challenge his former colleagues’ ethics is distasteful and says more about his own integrity than it could ever say about our referees, who are the best and most scrutinized game officials in the world.”
Donaghy has found ways to make money since he got out of prison by writing a book and breaking down games. While some of what he says could be sour grapes, I’m sure there’s truth to a lot of it. Ratings are always going to play a role in a game like basketball that can be so easily influenced by officiating.
H/T Arsen D.