SportsProf

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

There is No Fix in the Tim Donaghy Case

Although the disgraced former NBA's referee apparently suggests otherwise.

Tim Donaghy, who admitted to gambling on basketball games he officiated, is up for sentencing in Federal court soon. His attorney wrote to the judge stating that his client fully cooperated with investigators, revealed pieces of information that could have led to further investigations, but that Federal prosecutors have done nothing with that information and that the NBA might have pressured the U.S. Attorney's office to go no further on the matter.

It's hard to believe.

U.S. Attorneys are among the most zealous people on the planet, and if they are presented with facts that lead to further investigation, under normal circumstances they'll continue to pursue their leads until they come up dry. Moreover, it's hard to believe that any outside organization -- especially the NBA -- would have enough juice to get U.S. attorneys to back off.

Mike Greenberg discussed the allegations on ESPN Radio this morning and wondered aloud whether there was anything to this story. It was not Greenberg's best moment, because he's not familiar with prosecutorial climates and usually relies upon legal analyst Roger Cossack to help him. Had Greenberg involved Roger Cossack this morning, Cossack would have said almost precisely what I did -- that the U.S. attorney would have pursued all credible leads and that there's no way a U.S. attorney would stop because the NBA asked him/her to do so.

Oh, yes, there can be fixes everywhere, but do we believe that there has to be a fix everywhere? Is that the way we all want to live our lives? Look, if Donaghy's attorney has something, he should raise it more articulately with the higher ups at the Justice Department, with the press and with the judge, and then let "the system" take over. It's my opinion, though, that perhaps Donaghy didn't have as much information to give as he or his attorney thinks.

If there's something to this story, it will come out eventually. But respected pundits such as Mike Greenberg should give more thought to giving credibility to allegations without consulting with their experts.

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