Welcome to part two of four in our exclusive with ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy. You may wonder what he’s been up to since his release from prison four years ago. Well he did some fantastic work on Deadspin for the 2010 and 2011 Finals. He pointed out numerous blown calls for each game, quarter-by-quarter. I suggest you check it out.
He reportedly makes $5,000 per speaking engagement.
You can also check him out on Twitter, and read his Twitter bio.
Picks are up…Win streak continues tonight @RefPicks …MLB WINNERS from Palmer and Kennedy. NHL from Ike…
— Tim Donaghy (@TimDonaghy2) May 22, 2015
PMB: What did you think of the officiating in this past NBA Finals? Versus previous Finals?
TD: I think this year there’s been a tremendous amount of mistakes as I pointed out on Deadspin.com. I think in previous years there were just as many mistakes but they haven’t been brought to light like they were this year and last year through Deadspin. In the past the NBA hasn’t put the best referees based on play-calling in the NBA finals. They place years of service, not play calling ability first and hopefully that will change in the future.
They use a rating system, but one of the primary things is years of service, and they’re just starting to move guys out of the Finals who’ve been there for the last 10-15 years. Hopefully, they get a system in place where the guys who get the plays right are the guys in the Finals. You see different guys in the Final Four every year. In college basketball they try to put the guys who had the best year and the best NCAA Tournament. Yet you see the same guys in the NBA finals every year over and over. It just doesn’t make sense.
PMB: Will anyone ever regularly call a walk again? It seems anytime a big star goes to the whole he takes at least two steps, and it’s a horrible example for kids trying to learn/pick up the game.
TD: Well it’s a highlight film for ESPN and the last thing you want to do is take away a highlight film for a network or the fans. They continue to let it go and it obvious this year in the playoffs.
PMB: Have you followed the lockout situation very closely, and what do you believe is going to happen in this labor dispute?
TD: Yes, and I followed it in years past when I was involved in it. I don’t foresee a lockout lasting into the regular session, I think it’s something they’re going to get worked out, there are just too many dollars to be left on the table, and it would be disastrous for players and league. So I look for it to get resolved rather quickly.
PMB: There’s a connection, via Tina Fey, between your family name and the name of beloved “30 Rock” character Jack Donaghy, correct?
TD: Yes, Tina Fey grew up next to my cousin, so the Jack Donaghy character is named after my uncle. There’s a definite connection there through my cousins. So through all the news, I guess one of her writers picked it up and pieced it together. It’s funny stuff.
PMB: A lot of people don’t seem to know/understand that both the NBA and the FBI were unable to prove that you deliberately attempted to alter outcomes of games that you had both officiated and wagered money on. It’s very unfair that some have labeled you a “fixer of games,” because you’ve
never been found guilty of that crime.
It’s the “insider trading” of your NBA knowledge, the profiting from “trade secrets” that you were convicted for.
TD: Basically, it was insider trading where I had information on what was going to be called in the game and how a certain official was going to make calls in a game and I used that to create a line on the game. And I looked at the line in the newspaper, and if it was a 4 or 5 point difference, I would tell people to bet the game. People gloss over the fact that the FBI with the help of the NBA did a thorough investigation that I in fact had to pay for to restitution determined that at no time did I make calls in a game to facilitate the team with one of the bets I had placed with winning.
Paul M. Banks owns, operates and writes The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with Fox Sports Digital. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes to the Chicago Tribune RedEye edition. He also appears regularly on numerous sports talk radio stations all across the country.