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NBA: ESPN’s Tim Donaghy report ‘replete with errors’

The NBA has issued a sharp rebuke of ESPN’s bombshell report about disgraced former referee Tim Donaghy, saying in a statement the report is “replete with errors” and “adds little to the existing record” from the league’s prior investigation into the matter.

Donaghy continues to insist he attempted to fix games during his time refereeing NBA games, and ESPN’s investigation into the matter as presented in the report yielded compelling data that arguably provided some semblance of credibility to Donaghy’s claims.

“The Tim Donaghy matter concluded over a decade ago with a full investigation by the federal government, Donaghy’s termination from the NBA, and his conviction for criminal acts,” the NBA’s extensive statement reads in part, which was as posted on the league’s official site. “At the same time, at the request of the NBA, former prosecutor Larry Pedowitz conducted an independent investigation of Donaghy’s misconduct and issued publicly a 133-page report. This report was based on an extensive review of game data and video as well as approximately 200 interviews, thousands of pages of documents, and consultation with various gambling and data experts.

“The ESPN Article attempts to revive this old story. Unfortunately, it is replete with errors, beginning with its statement that the Pedowitz Report ‘concluded that Donaghy, in fact, did not fix games.’ The Pedowitz Report made no such conclusion. Rather, the investigation found no basis to disagree with the finding of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office that ‘[t]here is no evidence that Donaghy ever intentionally made a particular ruling during a game in order to increase the likelihood that his gambling pick would be correct.’ ESPN ignores this important distinction.

“The new material that ESPN has assembled to support its own conclusion that Donaghy manipulated games is not strong and adds little to the existing record.”

Donaghy has long made claims of conspiring to fix games during his NBA officiating career. He resigned from the league in 2007 amid an FBI inquiry into whether he was attempting to influence the outcome of games to benefit the gambling activities for either himself or his associates.

In 2008, Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months behind bars and┬áthree years of supervised release, with the Judge presiding over the matter saying the disgraced referee had let the NBA down “by taking thousands of dollars from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips on games — including ones he refereed,” as summarized in an ESPN report.

“The NBA, the players and the fans relied on him to perform his job in an honest manner,” U.S. District Judge Carol Amon stated at sentencing.

Donaghy subsequently wrote a memoir about the scandal, titled, “Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal that Rocked the NBA,” which was published in 2010.