Shamed Ref: NBA Playoffs Were Rigged

The letter apparently comes in response to the NBA's claim that Donaghy pay $1 million in restitution to cover the cost of the league's private investigation. Donaghy's legal team is trying to demonstrate his cooperation with a federal government investigation before he is sentenced on July 14 on felony charges of taking cash payoffs from gamblers and betting on games himself.

The document referenced other alleged improprieties that Donaghy disclosed to federal law enforcement officials. Among them:

• "Tim gave information on how top executives of the NBA sought to manipulate games using referees to boost ticket sales and television ratings," the letter reads. "He also described how nepotism played a far greater role than qualifications in a number of referee hirings."

• "Tim explained the league officials would tell referees that they should withhold calling technical fouls on certain star players because doing so would hurt ticket sales and television ratings," the letter adds. "As an example, Tim explained how there were times when a referee supervisor would tell referees that NBA Executive X did not want them to call technical fouls on star players or remove them from the game. In January 2000, Referee D went against these instructions and elected a star player in the first quarter of the game. Referee D later was privately reprimanded by the league for that ejection."

• In addition to game-altering allegations, Donaghy's letter claims that many officials carry on "relationships" with team executives, coaches and players that violate their NBA contracts. For example, it said, referees broke NBA rules by hitting up players for autographs, socializing with coaches and accepting meals and merchandise from teams.

"Tim described one referee's use of a team's practice facility to exercise and another's frequent tennis matches with a team's coach," the letter says.

• The letter also alleges that during a 2005 Rockets-Mavericks playoff series, "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."

Mavs owner Mark Cuban did in fact complain after his team lost the first two games of the series, and Dallas went on to beat Houston in seven games. Jeff Van Gundy, then the coach of the Rockets, said that an NBA official had told him about the league's plan to closely monitor moving screens by Yao Ming, and Van Gundy was ultimately fined $100,000 for his comments regarding the situation. Van Gundy later backed off his comments.

During halftime of the Lakers-Celtics game on Tuesday, Van Gundy, a commentator for the game, said that while he still thinks Yao was unfairly targeted, he does not lend any credibility to what Donaghy has to say.

Stern said he had not yet read the letter filed on Donaghy's behalf, but that portions of it had been read to him.

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