Somehow, I've wound up on Ralph Nader's press-release email list. I'm not sure how, since I certainly never signed up for it. At first I was annoyed, but it's become a reliable source of entertainment. In the latest episode, Nader casts his lot with Tim Donaghy--the disgraceful match-fixing ex–NBA referee facing up to 33 years in prison--against commissioner David Stern:
Back in 2002, Ralph was sitting at home watching game six of the NBA playoff game between the big TV market Los Angeles Lakers and the small TV market Sacramento Kings. ...
In that crucial game six in Los Angeles, the referees called foul after foul against the Kings.
But when Kobe Bryant elbowed Mike Bibby's nose, sending Bibby to the sideline bleeding, no foul was called. ...
Ralph Nader saw injustice and on June 4, 2002, Ralph wrote to NBA Commissioner David Stern asking for an investigation.
Ralph personally spoke with Stern.
But Stern stiffed Ralph.
No action was taken.
Yesterday, former NBA referee Tom Donaghy, now convicted of conspiring with gamblers, was pointing fingers at his colleagues.
Donaghy's lawyer, John Lauro, says NBA executives directed referees "to manipulate games" in order to "boost ticket sales and television ratings." ...
The lesson we learned from the 2002 NBA Playoffs - Ralph was right.
Thank God we had someone with Ralph Nader's perceptiveness and intellectual courage to sound the alarm! It's not like it was totally obvious to any semi-sentient being watching that game that the refereeing was abysmal. I don't think anyone would be at all surprised to learn that the series was rigged--but, absent some sort of concrete proof, any information derived from Donaghy's desperate effort to get his sentence reduced has just about zero evidentiary value, in my book.
The only thing more pathetic than Donaghy is that someone who made it onto the Atlantic's list of the 100 most influential Americans in history is sending out emails like this.