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The Moment Tim Donaghy Knew He Was in Trouble

Today’s Pardon My Take was very unique. Mr. Cat and Mr. Commenter put on their Big J hats and welcomed former NBA referee Tim Donaghy to the show to discuss Donaghy’s involvement in the 2007 sports betting scandal and to help promote the new movie based on this incident, “Inside Game.” I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing this one. But the part of this interview that I thought was fascinating was when Mr. Cat and Mr. Commenter asked Donaghy the hard-hitting questions, specifically relating to the moment the former NBA referee knew he was in big, big trouble:

Mr. Commenter: Were there ever any times that you thought that you were getting caught? That turned out to just be like a false alarm?

Tim Donaghy: No, it wasn't. In fact, I wish that would've happened because that probably would've scared me straight a little bit. But it wasn't until I was at the golf course. And Tommy [Martino, a longtime friend involved in the scandal] called me and said the FBI had been in his house three times.

Mr. Cat: Oh, wow. So that moment. So that happens. When does the FBI come to your house? They come to your house like the next morning?

raptors - 11/21/04 - TORONTO, ONTARIO - Raptors Chris Bosh tries to plead his case to official Tim D

Tim Donaghy: They never come to my house. I get the call from Tommy and I just totally panic. I lose about 30 pounds in less than a month. And my attorney keeps telling me, sit tight, sit tight. And just, the stress was just unbearable. And he called up the United States attorney and had him on speaker phone. And I was sitting in his office and he said, listen, you tell Tim Donaghy we know what he did. We know who he did it with. He’s going to lose his job. If we have to come get him, not only is he going to lose his job, he’s going to go to jail for a long, long time. So I thought it was in my best interest and my family’s interest, the next day I got on a plane and went to New York and met with the FBI. 

Mr. Cat: So, you knew it was coming for a month while you were still reffing games? 

Tim Donaghy: No, it was over at that point, it was the summer. 

Mr. Cat: Oh, that’s right. Did you ever talk to David Stern on the phone after that?

Tim Donaghy: I was in my attorney's office again and we called the league office and they picked up the phone and said, hey, listen, you know, I think we should come in and meet with you. And Tim wants to explain to you what he did and how he did it. And they said, okay, we'll get back to you. And we never heard from him.

Game 3: Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

Mr. Cat: He was probably pretty mad, huh?

Tim Donaghy: He’s furious.

Mr. Cat: Yeah, I’d be mad if I was the commissioner.

I mean, this has just got to be one of the worst feelings of all-time. You’re strolling along on the links, lining up for an eight-footer that has a slight break to the left to try and save par, and the next thing you know, everything changes. Just crazy.

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