Saturday, July 21, 2007

NBA Referee Tim Donaghy Under Investigation

Police are investigating the possibility that NBA referee Tim Donaghy bet on NBA games and improperly affected the final scores. Tim Donaghy has resigned from refereeing while the investigation continues.

Only time will tell whether the allegations of biased refereeing are actually true -- we should wait for a jury to decide that. But the investigation of whether one referee has been doing his job correctly in all of his games highlights the importance of sports fans and sports journalists to comment on and review how well referees do their job.

Even if it turns out that Tim Donaghy is innocent -- or that 99% of NBA referees are unbiased and try their hardest to call a fair game, referees each have their own styles and peculiarities. They are also human and can have a bad day here and there just like the rest of us. Fans and journalists should be discussing and reviewing how referees are doing. Do some call travelling more than others? That's an interesting fact that might be just a different style of the referee -- and not anything improper or illegal.

When the NBA issues fines against players, coaches, and owners who criticize referees, it means the NBA is silencing some of the key people in position to analyze and comment on how referees are performing. It's up to the journalists, then, to fill in the gap and comment on how referees do. Are journalists afraid of annoying the sports leagues that they depend on for press credentials? Or are journalists not willing to do the hard work of analyzing the referees?

Maybe the only solution is to turn away from the usual journalists and create a forum for us sports fans to comment in a fair way on referees. This blog is one attempt to offer a forum for people to comment on referees in a reasonable and thoughtful way.

What does the NBA referee investigation mean to you?


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