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
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,”
“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
“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.