Refs spokesman criticizes Donaghy, alleges threats

The lead negotiator and spokesman for the NBA’s referees says

Tim Donaghy made threats against him, and that the disgraced former

official’s accusations about his colleagues shouldn’t be believed

because he is a “compulsive liar.”

Lamell McMorris said Thursday that Donaghy also threatened

fellow referees, whom he has accused of misconduct during a series

of interviews this week.

“His attacks have been malicious and his claims continue to be

unfounded,” McMorris said in a statement. “Donaghy is a convicted

felon and a compulsive liar with loyalty to no one but

himself.”

McMorris declined to give specifics of the threats, but

indicated to The Associated Press they came when Donaghy called his

office after McMorris put out statements on behalf of the referees

after the Donaghy betting scandal broke in 2007.

McMorris also cited Donaghy’s “pattern of intimidation” and

issues with his temper, including a dispute with his neighbors

while living in Philadelphia that the NBA investigated. His

statement said Donaghy’s life “has been marked by a pattern of

dishonesty,” noting that he was forced to return to prison after

he was accused of violating terms of his probation.

This was a difficult week for the referees union, with Donaghy

appearing on “60 Minutes” and ESPN to give interviews to coincide

with the release of his book. Donaghy insisted he never had to make

calls to affect games he bet on because he knew of biases certain

officials had against certain players that would influence the way

the games would be called.

But McMorris said investigations into those claims found no

criminal activity by anyone other than Donaghy, who admitted

betting on games he officiated and was sentenced to 15 months for

conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting

information through interstate commerce.

“The release of his new book and his various media interviews

are more attempts by Tim Donaghy to cast a shadow over the NBA,”

McMorris said.

“The referees of the NBA have fully cooperated with all federal

and internal investigations regarding Donaghy’s unfounded

allegations. These investigations have shown that, other than

Donaghy, no referee has ever bet on an NBA game, shared

confidential game information with other gamblers, or sought to

direct a game’s outcome for personal gain.”

Messages seeking comment were left late Thursday night with

Executive Prisons Consultants, which had been advising Donaghy.

The NBA has said it will forward any new claims by Donaghy to

its investigators for further review. McMorris said the referees

are committed to working with the league to uphold their

professionalism.

“Tim Donaghy’s actions reflect the kind of man he is, and those

actions certainly do not reflect the character exhibited on a

day-to-day basis by the honest people that currently make up the

NBA officiating staff,” McMorris said.