NBA referee Tim Donaghy was caught in a points shaving scandal that could cause fans to lose trust in the league.
Donaghy was investigated by the FBI for allegedly altering games that he refereed and providing inside information to the mob. Donaghy apparently had a huge gambling problem, and was approached by low level mob members to shave points.
NBA Commissioner David Stern called Tim Donaghy "an individual who has betrayed the most sacred trust in professional sports," and called Donaghy a "rogue, isolated criminal."
Most crimes, such as a player getting a DUI or having a domestic violence charge, can be viewed as isolated incidents, and does not hurt the game as a whole. But a gambling scandal is much worse because it questions whether the sport is legitimate or not.
Many fans already question whether the NBA is fixed or not, because there are so many questionable calls. Games could appear to be fixed because one team will be called for fouls at a much higher rate than another team.
It doesn't help the NBA that basketball may be the easiest sport to fix because the referees have more control over the game.
What is the difference between a blocking foul and a charge? Not much. The call could go either way. There is contact every time a player drives the lane. Why do some players get more calls than others?
The NBA should be thanking Michael Vick.. The NBA has one of the biggest scandals in sports history, while one of the NFL's biggest stars may be going down because of a dog fighting scandal. The Vick story seems to have overshadowed the NBA headlines.
Falcons' owner Arthur Blank was going to suspend Vick for the first four games of the season, which is the maximum penalty that a team can suspend a player under the collective bargaining agreement, but Goodell told Blank to hold off on the suspension until the league can do their own investigating. It appears that Goodell wants to suspend Vick for the entire season, even though there has been no conviction.
The NFL is under pressure for corporate sponsors, the media, fans, and animal rights groups, such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
In April, when the investigation first started, Vick said that he had no knowledge of the dog fighting ring on his property in Virginia and that it was his cousin taking advantage of his hospitality.
That defense does not seem like it is going to hold water. His cousin, who lived on Vick's property, was on public assistance and did not have the funds to maintain 66 dogs or a dog fighting ring. Vick certainly could afford it. Also there are informants who have said that Vick is a "major player" in the dog fighting world and have said that they have seen him placing big bets at dog fights.
Vick has lost nearly all of his endorsements. And, it is very possible that Vick will never play in the NFL again.