With the new gambling laws, professional sports organizations have been focused on ways to keep sports honest. As a result, on Feb. 19, ESPN took a dive into the 2007 gambling scandal of NBA referee Tim Donaghy, bringing with it developments that cast doubt on the NBA's ability to curb inside betting. This led the league to issue its own lengthy rebuttal.
On Friday, Feb. 22, the NBA released a statement on its website regarding ESPN and Tim Donaghy.
"The Tim Donaghy matter concluded over a decade ago with a full investigation by the federal government, Donaghy’s termination from the NBA, and his conviction for criminal acts," the statement begins. "The ESPN Article attempts to revive this old story. Unfortunately, it is replete with errors, beginning with its statement that the Pedowitz Report 'concluded that Donaghy, in fact, did not fix games.'"
Since being expelled from the league in 2007, many have wondered if Donaghy's could have really impacted the outcome of games. Although it was concluded by the government and the NBA that Donaghy attempted to sway contests but was not successful, ESPN begged to differ. This was a result of a two-year investigation into the matter that the NBA is now claiming to be flawed.
When contradicting ESPN's finding, the league mentioned the article's quoted individuals, statistical analysis, and the anecdotal evidence from the games Donaghy officiated as inconclusive. This, in turn, debunked the idea that the NBA is one of the easiest leagues to manipulate.
The NBA concluded its statement by explaining that leagues need to have an open relationship with sports books. "The Donaghy matter also underscores the need for sports leagues to have greater access to betting data from sports books to monitor gambling on their games," it said. "We will continue our ongoing efforts to obtain this information to further expand our integrity efforts and best protect our sport in an age of legalized sports gambling."