a man of the people, I decided, per Tittle500's request, to weigh in on the Tim Donaghy/NBA officiating train wreck, albeit in concise fashion. To wit:
1. The NBA has never really interested me since Jordan left. I'm one of those folks that finds college basketball infinitely more entertaining for a variety of reasons--defense, passing, a team game, and... officiating that doesn't reward superstars recklessly driving the lane (I agree, Tittle, Simmons' column was on point in pretty much everything he said--refreshing to read a column not laden with J-Bug and Vegas references, too). Hence, I'm neither too upset nor too surprised that this is going down.
2. That video on Deadspin and other sites of Game 3 of the Suns-Spurs series last year is pretty damning. But it makes me wonder if more refs than just Donaghy were involved. Why is no one raising this possibility? Sure, Donaghy made some questionable calls, but so did the other two guys in that game. Are you telling me that they just suck and not that Donaghy said to them, "Hey, call a few more fouls on the Suns and I'll give you a $5 grand cut of my payoff"? The latter possibility seems more than just a little likely to me.
3. The Crazy touched on this in a post a few days back, but which is a bigger black eye for the respective sports: the officiating scandal in basketball or the steroid scandal in baseball? For my money, the officiating scandal trumps even steroids in terms of severity. Why? Because officials in the NBA have the most power of any of the major sports (hockey is no longer 'major' in my mind--it forfeited its status when its playoffs went to Vs.).
NFL officials are, to an extent, held in check/bailed out by instant replay and MLB umps are relatively limited in the ways they can affect the outcomes of games (including, but not limited to, messing with the strike zone, botching check swing calls, and missing stolen base/play at the plate calls). Even then, players are much more substantially in control of outcomes in baseball (they can extend their strike zones, etc). NBA officials, on the other hand, can drastically impact the face of a game--to the point of removing players from the game through fouling out.
Steroids are their own mess, but at least it was the players on the field and not the supposed arbiters of the game that were cheating. Additionally, the connection between steroid use and the direct outcome of games is a little more dubious than point shaving. Bonds and McGwire and Sosa may have hit so many more homers than they would have otherwise, but remember how many of those Sosa homers came in late-inning, irrelevant, Cubs down 6 situation? That, and as any number of (misguided?) athletes will tell you, steroids might help you hit the ball further, but they won't help you hit it in the first place.