Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy claims that the league has instructed its officials to favor the Brooklyn Nets over the Toronto Raptors in the opening round of the 2014 playoffs.
In an interview with “The Jeff Blair Show,” a program on Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto, Donaghy, who last officiated an NBA game in 2007, insinuated that the league had an interest in a fixed outcome to the Nets-Raptors series. According to Donaghy, Toronto is “not only going against the Brooklyn Nets but going against the league office.”
“They have a very talented team and have to be that much better than the Brooklyn Nets,” Donaghy said. “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.”
“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 continued. “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.”
Donaghy claims that the NBA rigged the manner in which the Nets-Raptors games are officiated in order to secure a matchup in the next round that would generate better television ratings. “In this situation, Brooklyn would be put at an advantage,” he said. “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.”
“As a referee, you get paid an enormous amount of money as (you) advance in rounds,” he added. “You’re being graded in every way you’re officiated. And you’re going to be graded on what they want you to call. So if they say ‘Kyle Lowry is hand-checking Deron Williams and we need that called’, you’re certainly going to call it. If you let something go, you’re going to be dinged with a missed call.”
Despite Donaghy’s claims, the box scores from the first two games of the Nets-Raptors series dispute the notion that Toronto was judged more harshly by officials. Through the two games, the Nets were whistled for more personal fouls (45) than the Raptors (44).
In a Tuesday statement, NBA spokesperson Michael Bass denied Donaghy’s allegations. “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,” the statement said.
In 2007, Donaghy resigned from the NBA in disgrace after an FBI investigation revealed that he fixed the outcome of games that he officiated during the final two years of his career. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.
Later, Donaghy’s lawyers filed a court document which alleged that NBA officials had rigged Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings. NBA commissioner David Stern denied Donaghy’s allegations.