Mr. Smith's Neighborhood

It's a beautiful day in the Neighborhood for teachers everywhere! Anything and everything is fair game!

The Sunday Sports Section August 19, 2007

NBA Scandal, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Michael Vick, Rick Tocchet, NHL Jerseys, Michael Peca

Under normal conditions, my interest in sports ranges from my deep fanaticism for the New York Rangers (and contempt for the other New York area hockey teams) to a long-lived loyalty for the Yankees and then to a fleeting interest in the New York Jets. However, the ridiculous sports news over the last few days makes me wonder how people can listen to sports talk radio for more than 20 minutes without developing a brain aneurism.

The sports pages in recent days reads more like a cross between a police blotter, a scandal sheet and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Without covering every arrest (Jose Offerman and his baseball bat attack), the NFL (National Felony League) and every non-news feature article, let’s look more closely at seven ongoing sports stories.

The NBA Betting Scandal

According to ESPN, former NBA official Tim Donaghy will reportedly give federal prosecutors information implicating twenty (20!) other referees in gambling activities as a part of his cooperation with government officials. Donaghy, who pleaded guilty on Thursday, Aug. 16, and was released on $250,000 bond, faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 9 for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce.

Law and Order taught all of us about the value of uncorroborated accomplice testimony in a conspiracy, but this scandal serves as one more reason to turn off the NBA. The millions of dollars are thrown around the NBA as a result of exorbitant ticket prices, marketing agreements and television contracts,even though the NBA also has the smallest roster of any of the five major team sports in America. The resulting greed in the NBA is not only understandable, it is expected. The refs might as well grab their piece of the pie.