Stern unconvincing on Donaghy scandal
Frankly I was expecting a bit more from Commissioner David Stern's news conference than I got. Instead of seeing the media savvy commisioner that we have all come to expect, in this moment of crisis I saw an unusually rattled and forlorn Stern. His statement was meandering and mumbled, and basically did nothing more than reiterate the safeguard system the NBA already has in place -- the very system that failed to detect Tim Donaghy's indiscretions. In an unbelievably tin-eared spin on this serious situation, the Commissioner seemed to simply throw up his hands and imply that if one determined individual, such as Donaghy, wanted to get away with undermining the integrity of the Association, he could do it. Stern pointed to the FBI and CIA "rogue agent" scandals of the past as proof of his assertion.
That's not what I wanted to hear. First of all, Donaghy is hardly in the same clandestine league as an Aldrich Aimes. His strange personal behavior should have signalled him out as an obvious problem as far back as two years ago. Yet the NBA claims they investigated him and found nothing amiss. How did this extensive network of security that Stern laid out, which included credit and financial oversights, fail to notice that this referee had serious issues that called into question his fitness as a decisionmaker? Second, as a fan I can't buy into Stern's pessimistic acceptance of the fact that a determined referee could pull something like this off in the future. Especially when you consider the caliber of the guy who just pulled it off. Donaghy was no genius. He was a lone basketball referee who was stupid enough and reckless enough to involve himself with the Gambino family, for God's sakes! Guys like that need to be found out and stopped early on by the Association, not the FBI.
All in all, David Stern's first attempt to spin this dangerous scandal was, in my opinion, an airball. He needs to hunker down, rethink the matter, and come up with some sort of tougher measures that he can lay before the fans to assure them that the integrity of the game's officials will be guaranteed. Until he does that, this scandal will continue to fester.