Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Return Of Tim Donaghy

So, the proclaimed "rogue, isolated" official is in the news again. This time he is alleging most notably that "company men" officials rigged the 2002 NBA Playoff matchup between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the game referenced, the Los Angeles Lakers shot 27 free throws in the fourth quarter.

Now, I know most of you consider Tim Donaghy as the lone official who would ever alter the outcome of a game. Because that's what David Stern and the NBA want you to believe. And because the FBI has cleared the NBA and other officials of any wrongdoing or illegal activity. Whether or not that just means that David Stern is intelligent enough not to have those conversations recorded is up to you to decide.

But ask yourself this. How did David Stern know without a doubt that Donaghy was the only official involved? Or fixing games in general for another reason? Wouldn't a CEO of a major company extensively research film to determine whether or not other officials were involved? What would have happened if they only investigated one executive from Enron?

Furthermore, for a league that freely admits to treating "superstars" differently and repeated altercations between certain players and officials, is it really that far fetched for the league to make games or playoff series more exciting through a little more manipulation? Isn't keeping Shaquille O'Neal from fouling out during his glory years manipulating the game in Shaq's team's favor? Why is protecting Kobe Bryant or any other superstar from fouling out any less of an offense as Tim Donaghy protecting a spread? And that's just one of the "rules" that Stern has implemented. We won't even delve into traveling and hop steps being "legalized".

Since Jordan's retirement, the NBA has experienced a sharp nose dive in ratings. Since an 18.7 rating during Jordan's last championship series, the NBA Finals has only surpassed a 10 rating five (now probably six) times. Only one of those series hasn't involved the LA Lakers. I've heard the media suggest that it would be the New York Knicks that would receive Stern's bias if it existed. What they fail or refuse to recognize is that the Lakers have far more appeal to the general public than the New York Knicks.

So, what does that mean? For advertising dollars, receiving half the amount of viewers could and has cost Stern and the league billions of dollars. What would you do to recapture billions of dollars? Do you think that might affect his paycheck just a little bit? Funny, the NBA Finals featuring the San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers last year captured an all-time low 6.2 rating. This year, it featured two of the most storied franchises the league has to offer. The Boston Celtics and........the Los Angeles Lakers.


1 comment:

Sam Ray said...

I love your conspiracy theory outlook on all of this...not to say that I don't also believe there has been some foul play (no pun intended, well maybe) running amuck.