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ESPN: Gambling, not Tim Donaghy, fixed NBA games

 According to the ESPN columnist Scoop Jackson, gambling is to blame for alleged NBA game fixing, not Tim Donaghy.

ESPN: Gambling, not Tim Donaghy, fixed NBA games Editorial: An article from the ESPN "Page 2" was emailed to me today. It was written by the columnist Scoop Jackson, and you can click here to read it.

Here are a few quotes from that article I would like to ponder over:

 Quote: At the root of the Tim Donaghy issue is the one thing that has plagued all sports since the day man met ball and discovered competition could be a business: gambling.

It's funny how an ESPN columnist is calling gambling a plague (not gambling addiction or illegal gambling, just gambling). Maybe Mr. Jackson should check out the European edition of ESPN and see all the online sportsbook advertisements his place of employment carries. If Mr. Jackson believes that gambling is a plague to all sports, he is just as guilty of spreading the plague as the next guy. It's hypocritical to call gambling a plague, while part of your paycheck comes from the sportsbooks.

Quote: I've had loan sharks and "collectors" who speak on behalf of "boss men" come up to me and tell me to deliver messages to certain players that I have written about.

There is a difference between legal gambling and illegal sports betting. To bad Mr. Jackson doesn't see it.

Quote: That's why I'm not surprised at what happened with Tim Donaghy. That's why none of us should be. Sad? Yes, we should be, but not surprised. We all need to understand that gambling -- not greed, not arrogance, not ignorance, not business -- is what caused this to happen.

This is the worse excuse for the illegal sports betting and game fixing allegedly conducted by Tim Donaghy. It's sad to see an ESPN columnist defending the illegal actions of a sports referee. No Sir, it was not gambling that allegedly fixed games or shaved points. It was the referee.

 I would focus on illegal sports betting, because I think that's the form of gambling Mr. Jackson had in mind under the generalization "gambling". The 87-year-old lady at the 5 cent slot machine is also gambling, but I am sure she has not been visited by "loan sharks" and "mobsters".

 I would like to make Mr. Jackson and all of our readers understand something else - that the legal sportsbooks are the ones suffering the most from game fixing and points shaving. If Mr. Jackson did his research after he chose to lash on gambling, he would know, for example, that in the Toledo point shaving scandal, it was the oddsmaker Kenny White, chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sports Consultants, who alerted the authorities and NCAA that something fishy was going on during the Toledo games (click here).

In another article by Charles Rich he nails the point shaving problem right on the spot: Point shaving is going to rear its ugly head in college athletics periodically, simply because there are always people who will try to cheat a system. And there are always those who have a price.

 The whole thesis that "It's gambling's fault" reminds me a lot of the parents who blame video games/school/peer-pressure/society/5-o'clock-traffic for the wrongdoings of their kids.

Quote: But until we acknowledge that point shaving, mob ties and game fixing are not the real issue here, that someone's gambling addiction is, this ugliness will rear its ugly head again.

 I beg to differ. While gambling addiction is a very serious problem, this, by far, is not the real issue. The real issue is that a man who has been chosen to retain the integrity and honesty of each game could have been doing exactly the opposite.

To call on gambling addiction to take the blame in this case is a pity act, and I am shocked that a sports journalist would take a stance and defend game fixing.

Just as one person have already commented on the article: You can gamble responsibly and have fun doing it. You cannot fix an NBA game responsibly.

Andy Boyd

Published on 07/23/2007

Related news:

 NBA ref Tim Donaghy receiving threatening calls
 NBA referee investigated for illegal betting by the FBI






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