Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Spin control

The NBA is in full spin control and David Stern is sounding more and more like Roger Clemens in relation to the latest allegations from Tim Donaghy. Stern has been all bluster and no substance, attacking the character of the accuser while sidestepping any real comment on the claims themselves.

My guess is that Stern would like this to go away....probably as much, if not more than the NFL wants Arlen Specter to go away.

The problem is part of Stern's reasoning.

Sterns recent comments about Donaghy -

"Because a convicted felon said something about his colleagues in order to lower his time away, am I worried about that? I'm worried that someone is out there saying it, but you're the one who will either deal with it or not as part of the media. We've been as open and transparent as we can be...But we'll stay with it, and we have no doubt that Mr. Donaghy is the only one here that's guilty of criminal activity."

Those are made all the more interesting in light of this quote from 2006 when Donaghy was still on the league's payroll - "
I think we have the best officials, the best-monitored officials, the best-developed officials in all of sports."

They have "the best-monitored officials" in all of sports? Yet a majority of the officials were, at the time, in violation of the league's gambling policy, and they knew nothing of Donaghy's violations?

Now Stern expects us to believe the denials the league is issuing?

That's the height of arrogance.

Of course, considering Donaghy's claims, in essence, are an indictment of Stern, he's going to deny the claims. Stern is telling us that the league has been transparent, and that the feds have found no violations beyond Donaghy's - but can anyone out there tell me exactly what the Feds were investigating? Were they investigating the league, or were they investigating Donaghy? Because if it was just Donaghy, it was out of the purview of their investigation, it was not an investigation into what other officials may have been doing. What did the league even investigate? Gambling?

What has really done by the league to look into this? I know they found that a whole bunch of other officials violated league rules and then were given a free pass. Hell, Stern suggested changing the rule to accommodate the violators. So why should I believe Stern on this? I mean, that could be construed as a payoff - a free pass in exchange for the silence of the violators...assuming that Donaghy is indeed telling the truth.

There are a lot of reasons that you could give for Donaghy lying about this, but Sterns reasons for possibly putting the fix on games has to do with a league whose net worth is in the billions. A lot of money is a lot of motivation to make sure the league continues netting maximum profits - and max profits are definitely not Sacramento making the finals over the Lakers.

Once again - I'm not saying I believe Donaghy. But I am saying that I don't think Stern is any more credible than Donaghy, and that Donaghy's claims have to be given at least enough weight to merit an investigation, if for no other reason than to put this to rest once and for all.

As for Stern - he might want to consider NOT taking a page from the Roger Clemens playbook on this one.

And let's just note - if an independent investigation reveals Donaghy to be correct - let's start talking about the validity of Phil Jackson's genius and post-season record.

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