I watched this last night.
Here is what I took away from it:
1. I was convinced that Donaghy did not fix games because he didn't need to.
2. The emotions and biases of the referees towards players, coaches and owners have a far greater impact on the game than I could have imagined. I believe Donaghy is telling the truth in that regard - in fact I believe he was 100% truthful with all his answers on the show.
3. I think the book would be an interesting read, and not a defense of his actions. He knows he screwed up.
I didn't watch
I watched HBO Real Sports talk to the gambler he worked with and I watched some of this 60 Min stuff too.
I am convinced that the NBA has a serious problem with refs, and that Donaghy is a big fat liar who fixed the games he worked. His success rate was NOT tied to his "NBA knowledge" because he apparently did not win very well on NBA games he bet but didn't work. HBO cited the numbers, or had his accomplice cite them, so I assumed they were likely fair. He was hitting on 80% of his NBA bets, but when broken down between games he worked and games he didn't work I think it was more like 80% on his games (lots of these) and 40-50% on other NBA games (not many of these bets).
They made a strong case that Donaghy is full of crap, and I think by corollary that the NBA is pulling a cover up.
There are only 2 options here:
1) Donaghy fixed games and the NBA is covering that up
2) Donaghy was correct when he said that ref bias was so strong that you could bet at an 80% correct rate, meaning the games are virtually fixed. Not for money, but rather for emotional reasons. But fixed is fixed.
His win rate was so off the charts high that it's one or the other. He didn't get lucky. He either impacted games directly or knew that other refs were going to do so to such a degree that you would be certain to win your bet.
I didn't see it all yet, but what I saw left out the part where he claimed they would bet on how long they could go without calling a foul. He was going with "I didn't know of any other refs that bet on games", but even though a bet like I just mentioned would be a "friendly" bet it's still a bet. It still involves calling the game in a way other than is intended by the rules, and it involves more than just Donaghy.
I love the sport and I love NBA caliber players. With the Pacers so down I'm less involved with friendly calls by the refs that hurt their playoff chances or something important. But it's pretty tough to see all the evidence and other witness testimony and not realize there is probably a major issue with how the game is called.
And Mike Mathis, former head of the refs, basically admitted that the emotional bias was there, that refs did discuss personal issues they had with various players and coaches before and after games.
Of course Mathis is no paradigm of morals himself being at the core of the airline ticket tax evasion scandal.
I'm either getting old or dense, because I still don't see it
Does anyone actually believe refs can be completely objective figures? Without getting into a philosophical debate (hereeee Soupy Soupy Soupy) - I will just say, I have my doubts.