Countdown

24 July, 2007

What should Stern do?

That is easier asked than answered.

I am referring to what the NBA should do about former referee Tim Donaghy. He was recently flipped by the Feds as part of an organized crime gambling bust.

It turns out that Donaghy was helping to fix games to meet or beat the point spread.

All over the sports web sites, the poles are which is a bigger black eye on the sport, Bonds and his steroids, Vick and his dog fighting, or Donaghy and his fixed games. As bad as the first two options are, there is no comparison.

Bonds may be well on his way to cheating his way to the most hallowed record in sports, and dog fighting is unspeakable at best, but a dirty ref is goes a lot further. It strikes to the core of the integrity of the game.

It goes beyond what Pete Rose did. When Pete bet on the Reds as a manager, he was betting that his team would win. When a referee bets on a game, or effects a game in another way, it goes so much deeper. It directly effected the outcome of games.

When games are decided by other than players and coaches, so much more is affected. How often does one game change who makes the play-offs or seeding in the play-offs? How many player contracts were affected? How many coaches have been fired because they didn't win enough games?

There is no way of knowing how deep the wounds may go.

What is commissioner to do? Like I said earlier, there is no easy answer.

Can the league survive it? I'm sure it will.

Will the league lose fans? I'm sure it will.

Sports fans will always come back.

Should the league have the right to audit the finances for its officials? I think it isn't too much to ask. They don't have to be made public, just made available to league brass.

Now, this isn't going to be a fool proof system, people will always find ways to hide their ill-gotten gains. I think it may be a good start.




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