Pedowitz Gambling Report Released
The NBA finally released the indepedent investigation into the its gambling and officiating program on Thursday morning.
Lawrence Pedowitz, a former Chief of the Criminal Division in the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, conducted a 14-month investigation and made extensive recommendations in 116-page report to improve the league's anti-gambling rules and officiating program.
It basically supports what the government and the NBA has been saying about disgraced former referee Tim Donaghy. It also supported the league's assessment that he was a rogue criminal. It also dismissed many of Donaghy's claims - such as the latest allegation that referees were encouraged to manipulate the results of games for the purpose of boosting the league's television ratings.
Pedowitz, a current partner at law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, was hired to investigate the league's policies and procedures after it was announced that disgraced former official Tim Donaghy was under investigation for using inside information to bet on NBA games.
Donaghy, who pleaded guilty to two federal felony charges, recently turned himself in to a Florida prison to serve was a 15-month sentence in prison.
For a lengthy look at the report, you can click on the link right here. But if you don't have an entire afternoon at your disposal, here is a summary of the findings on a number of critical issues.
On Gambling or Misuse of Confidential Information by Other Referees:
"We have discovered no information suggesting that any NBA referee other than Tim Donaghy has bet on NBA games or leaked confidential NBA information to gamblers."
There had been a suggested that referee Scott Foster was involved in the gambling operation since Donaghy reportedly called him more than 130 times - often before and after games Donaghy had bet on. The report states that the investigation "found it to be meritless."
Although we found nothing to suggest that other referees bet on NBA games or disclosed confidential League or team information, we did find that many referees engaged in other forms of gambling in violation of the NBA's rules. The anti-gambling rules had been too broadly drafted, and the League's failure to enforce the rules had contributed to a permissive atmosphere. At our suggestion, the League has narrowed and clarified the rules to enumerate specifically the types of gambling activities that are prohibited, and intends to strictly enforce the new rules going forward.
A Review of Donaghy Games:
Pedowitz also reviewed a group of 17 games that included 16 on which Donaghy provided picks during the 2006-07 season.
Donaghy has denied intentionally making calls designed to manipulate games, and the government has said that it found "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." Based on our review, and with the information we have available, we are unable to contradict the government's conclusion.
And Finally, the Integrity of the League's Officiating Program
Refs have often been charged with showing favoritism for star players and star-laden teams, so Pedowitz also examined the perceived biases of referees, especially following the charges that officials rigged the results of several playoff games - most notably, Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings, when Shaquille O'Neal was ushered to the foul line almost every time a Kings player came within sniffing range.
The investigation also looked into a 2005 playoff series between the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, when Donaghy alleged that the league "targeted" Rockets center Yao Ming, a 2000 regular season game between the New York Knicks and Seattle SuperSonics, and a 2004 regular season game between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors, when Donaghy alleged that a referee used a personal relationship with Golden State to make favorable calls on the team.
"We have found no evidence of any inappropriate conduct in any of these series or games. And more generally, we have discovered no evidence that the League has asked referees to call games to favor particular teams or players," the report said.
But it also added this statement:
While the referees to whom we spoke said that their primary aim was to make accurate and consistent calls, some team representatives believe that some referees on occasion make calls based on personal bias. Steps taken since 2002 to improve the monitoring of referees have helped to reduce perceptions of favoritism. But because the potential for referee bias remains a threat to the integrity of the game, the League can do more, and we have made certain recommendations to that end.
I'll come back with what Pedowitz recommended for the league shortly.
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