NBA Commissioner Gives Presser on Betting Ref

NBA commissioner David Stern gave a press conference today at 11 a.m. to address the ongoing investigation of NBA referee Tim Donaghy. Donaghy is being investigated for betting on NBA games and for disclosing confidential information to others who might bet and profit on NBA games.

"Our rules are crystal clear that referees may not gamble on our games or provide information to anyone about those games," Stern said in an opening statement. "We have a rule that says that you're subject to discipline, which will most likely be expulsion from the league and the job. We educate our referees intensely. We have training camp presentations, brochures, we distribute work rules and visited by security."

Stern stated that the relevant time period for this investigation is the past two seasons: 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. During this time period Donaghy refereed 139 regular season games, eight playoff games and four preseason games.

"I don't which games, what number of games [are relevant to the investigation]," said Stern.

He emphasized that the NBA believes this is an "isolated incident," and that other officials are not involved in this investigation.

Stern went on to describe the relationship the NBA has had with Donaghy over the past two years. In January 2005 an allegation was raised against Donaghy that he had gambled at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City. The NBA's investigation into these allegations came up negative.

Stern also said that Donaghy's on-court performance has been in top-tier of accuracy, as determined by an observer system which the NBA has developed and used since the 2003-2004 season. This system "is designed to capture every call that a referee makes and every noncall that is deemed by observers to be incorrect."

He also reiterated the extensive security measures the NBA employs to guarantee that incidents like this are prevented.

Describing the gravity of the situation, Stern said, "I've been involved with refereeing and the NBA for 40 years and this the most serious situation, the worst, that I have experienced as a fan, as a lawyer and as a commissioner for the NBA."

Stern also responded to speculation that the NBA let Donaghy continue working after it became aware he was involved in betting. This, Stern said, "is untrue."

On July 9 Donaghy resigned. "We would like to have terminated him earlier," Stern said, "but [it was made clear to us that the]investigation would best be aided if we did not terminate him earlier."