Donaghy, a former NBA referee who wrote a book outlining the ways he fixed games (for which he served 15 months in prison), said the league is pressuring referees to favor the Brooklyn Nets over the Toronto Raptors for TV purposes. The winner advances to most likely play the Miami Heat, which is facing the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round.
“A Brooklyn-Miami matchup would bring great ratings, and that’s what this is all about for the NBA and the league offices — bringing in as many dollars as they can,” Donaghy said, according to FOX Sports. “It’s terrible for the fans (of) Toronto. They go and support that team, but they’re really going to have trouble moving on based on talent and what takes place on the floor when they’re really going against the refs and the league, along with the Nets.”
While the NBA certainly would get better ratings from a Miami-Brooklyn matchup, it hasn’t exactly positioned the Nets in prime time so far. Game 1 tipped off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, and Game 2 was broadcast on NBA TV, competing directly with Atlanta-Indiana on basic cable.
The NBA issued a statement in response: “Tim Donaghy is a convicted felon looking for any opportunity for people to listen to his baseless allegations. For Mr. Donaghy to continually try to challenge his former colleagues’ ethics is distasteful and says more about his own integrity than it could ever say about our referees, who are the best and most scrutinized game officials in the world.”