Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Magic Basketball Theory

And so, buried amidst the football news and the baseball playoffs, we get word that an intensive inquiry of the Donaghy crisis in the NBA reveals that he acted alone, and that he only fired one jump shot from the school book depository.

On a more serious note, investigator Lawrence Pedowitz' 133 page report concludes that Donaghy acted alone, and that the NBA did not fix games for TV rating, no matter what Ron Artest might say. Now, ordinarily one might greet this with just a wee bit of salt. An NBA investigation saying that the most damaging scandal of its history is contained to one rogue ref? No organized conspiracy? No league wrongdoing? Well, duh, what did you expect it to say? David Stern knows better than to ask any question he doesn't know the answer to. Of course the report commissioned by him on his league is going to say that everything's hunky-dory.

Except that it doesn't. It says that a large part of Donaghy's work was done through knowing refs' tendencies - which players they hated, which ones they liked, and so forth. That, while not as explosive as word of a Donaghy accomplice might have been, this doesn't make the NBA - or its refs - look particularly good, either. It's not the sort of thing you leave out there if you're doing a happy, shiny whitewash.

Of course, now that it's out there, it's not going to go away. The real test of this upcoming season is not whether they've cleaned up after Donaghy. It'll be whether they clean up what was already there when he got started.
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