As always, we will allow others to engage in rampant
speculation about Tim Donaghy’s latest bombshell finger pointing. We will
continue to give our fair
and balanced take.
Mind you, in lieu of a smoking gun, we are all engaging in
conjecture, but unlike others, I only claim to have educated theories, not the
Let’s rid of one apocryphal contention. I have heard enough of this “we didn’t believe
Jose Conseco either” balderdash. This is not to say I accepted every name and
detail from the get-go. However, the before/after comparisons of sundry players
girth, corroborated by rapidly ascending power statistics, had me long previously
convinced of MLB’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” steroid policy.
Whether or not such circumstantial evidence would hold up
in a court of law is irrelevant. The
visual and statistical evidence that existed long before Conseco’s casebound is infinitely more damning than any so-far undocumented
innuendo Donaghy has thrown against the wall.
Until Donaghy presents supporting evidence, here is my
learned take. The rogue criminal merely cherry-picked several high profile NBA
officiating controversies and decided to retro fit insinuation with the intent to
intimidate the NBA from aggressively seeking punitive action.
Yet he is fortunate enough to possess likely legitimate,
though irrelevant to his criminal charges, tattletale scuttlebutt that
conspiracy theorists will accept as proof that the more salacious
whistle-blowing (pun unintentional) is valid.
As an example, the jailbird alleges, “Team 3 lost the
first two games in the series and Team 3’s Owner complained to NBA officials.
Team 3’s Owner alleged that referees were letting a Team 4 player get away with
illegal screens. NBA Executive Y told Referee Supervisor Z that the referees
for that game were to enforce the screening rules strictly against that Team 4
player. Referee Supervisor Z informed the referees about his instructions. As
an alternate referee for that game, Tim also received these instructions.”
Coaches and players make game-to-game adjustments. The
fact that officials also view game film in order to correct errors, even on a
night-by-night basis, is every bit as commendable as it is believable. Nice try
convict, but thanks for the big “so what”.
He also alleges that in violation of league policy,
officials at times socialized with team hierarchy or solicited players for
autographs. While it’s quite plausible a referee requested a star player’s John
Hancock for their grandson, this is the equivalent of proving a person
jaywalked as evidence he is guilty of murder.
Okay Tim, we are sure officials didn’t obey the NBA’s
overbearing guidelines infallibly, but even if said squealing proves accurate,
it only demonstrates your fellow zebras human, not illicit. Score another “so
what” for the inmate.
Sadly though, early returns of the court of public opinion
suggest Donaghy’s indoctrination has been met with
initial success. While Donaghy skillfully planted confirmation bias to put the
NBA on the defensive, the burden of proof is on him to substantiate, not the
league to negate.
“Innocent until proven guilty” may not a burden of proof
that applies at the collective water coolers around the country, but the
desperado seems to be given a lot more credibility than he has earned.
In the book, Propaganda and Persuasion, authors Garth
S. Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell define propaganda as
“the deliberate, systematic attempt
to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a
response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”
In lieu of a
scinitlla of even an air of reality, it appears window dressing is all Donaghy