Retired NBA ref refutes Donaghy allegations from '02 playoffs
One of three referees to officiate Game 6 of the 2002 Lakers-Kings series recalls it much the same as everyone else -- except Tim Donaghy.
Ted Bernhardt, who along with Dick Bavetta and Bob Delaney officiated the game, again denied Donaghy's latest allegations in an interview with The Sacramento Bee. He had told ESPN.com last week that he stood by his calls in the controversial game. Bernhardt acknowledged it wasn't one of his best performances, but he refuted Donaghy's assertions that refs had rigged the game in order to stretch the series to a Game 7.
"I never imagined we'd be talking about this six years later."
Delaney, who is still an active referee, also has denied Donaghy's allegations in an interview with ESPN's "Outside The Lines" last week.
Delaney, a highly decorated former New Jersey State trooper, said: "This is not the first time a known or convicted criminal has lied about me before the judicial system. I have an extensive law enforcement background and still train police officers. I have dealt with criminals and informants, and I know full well they are capable of doing and saying anything. I cannot comment any further without permission from the NBA."
According to a letter filed in court last week, two referees, known as "company men," purposely ignored personal fouls and called "made-up fouls on Team 5 in order to give additional free throw opportunities for Team 6" in a 2002 playoff series.
"I stand by my calls in that game," Bernhardt told ESPN.com Thursday. "I was right on."
Although no teams are specifically named, it is not hard to deduce the game in question. The Lakers-Kings series was the only one that postseason that went seven games, and the officiating in Game 6 was so questionable that consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader called for a formal investigation.
"Everything just blew up," Bernhardt told the Bee. "It's a shame. You have an off-night as an official. Well, players have off-nights, too. For someone to say that we wanted the series to go to seven games ... it's really hard for me to hear all this stuff. This hurts me on so many levels."
The Game In Question
Shaquille O'Neal scored 41 points and pulled down 17 rebounds as the Lakers forced a Game 7 in the 2002 Western Conference finals. Recap
Two former NBA referees told ESPN on Thursday that federal investigators had questioned them about Bavetta while conducting their probe into Donaghy.
Former referee Hue Hollins said Thursday on ESPN's Outside The Lines that federal investigators "questioned me about Dick Bavetta more than they did about Tim Donaghy."
"They wanted to know what I knew about Dick Bavetta in terms of holding calls, making sure this team wins, that team wins. I said 'I never heard of that, and I didn't know anything about it,'" Hollins said. "When they called to interview me, I was again caught by surprise they asked so many questions about Bavetta. I didn't know where they were going with that."
Another ex-referee, who spoke to ESPN.com on the condition he not be identified, said federal investigators asked him about specific games Bavetta refereed and whether he had noticed anything peculiar about Bavetta's actions.
Los Angeles, which shot 27 free throws in the fourth quarter of Game 6, scored 16 of its final 18 points at the line. The Lakers went on to take Game 7 in overtime at Sacramento before sweeping the overmatched New Jersey Nets in the Finals.
NBA commissioner David Stern, and Kings owners Gavin and Joe Maloof have also rejected the claims from Donaghy, who has pleaded guilty to betting on games he officiated and taking cash payments from gamblers. Donaghy, 41, faces up to 33 months in prison at sentencing on July 14.
Donaghy's lawyer has sought to convince a federal judge in Brooklyn that Donaghy, of Bradenton, Fla., deserves more credit for coming forward before he was charged to disclose behind-the-scenes misconduct within the NBA. The letter suggests prosecutors have hurt Donaghy's chances for a lesser prison term by downplaying the extent of his cooperation.
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan was used in this report.
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- NBA reviewing Wade's elbow, other plays
- Grizzlies' Hollins all for anti-flopping rules
- Spurs' Duncan divorcing wife of 12 years
- Cuban has two-year plan for Mavs to contend
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
TIM DONAGHY SCANDAL
Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy pled guilty to federal felony conspiracy charges alleging that he passed along inside information on NBA games.
Donaghy also alleges that referees helped alter the outcomes of games during the '02 and '05 postseasons.
He was sentenced to 15 months in prison in July.
News• Phoenix prosecutor wants federal files
• Donaghy's father says NBA must share the blame
• NBA's disclosure of own probe of officials on hold
• Adviser: Donaghy 'couldn't stop' gambling
• Two ex-classmates of Donaghy get prison time
• Report: Donaghy made calls to fellow ref
• NY prosecutors: Ref 'central' to NBA bet scandal
• NBA's restitution case vs. Donaghy questioned
• Donaghy lawyer: NBA trying to vilify ex-ref
• NBA ups Donaghy restitution figure to $1.4M
• Referee from alleged fixed game to work Game 5
• Ex-referee denies improper officiating claim
• Kings lament Donaghy's claims from 2002
• Report: Federal agents ask ex-ref about Bavetta
• NBA ref responds to Donaghy's 2002 claim
• 2002 playoff game at heart of allegations
• Stern allows some forms of gambling among refs
• NBA refutes report of refs disciplined
• Ex-ref Donaghy forfeits cash as part of plea deal
• Stern defends refs, vows to wait before punishing
• Ex-prosecutor counseled refs during FBI probe
• Attorney to lead review of NBA refs
• Report: Donaghy to talk about other refs
• Donaghy could face state charges
• Donaghy pleads guilty to felony charges | Docs
• Donaghy to plead guilty on betting charges
• Lawyer: Donaghy classmate expects indictment
• Congressman requests discussion with Stern
• Stern: Donaghy only referee believed to have bet
• Transcript of Stern's news conference
• Police called to Donaghy's home
• Report: Feds believe ref will cooperate
• Reports: NBA referee bet on games
• Mayor: Scandal won't hurt Vegas' NBA dream
Stats• Donaghy's 2006-'07 game log
• Donaghy's 2005-'06 game log
Analysis• Munson: What happens on judgment day?
• Munson: Prison or no prison for Donaghy?
• Neumann: Nader feels vindicated
• Hill: NBA not helping their own case
• Stein: NBA has no quick fix for fixing charges
• Smith: Season shaken by Donaghy nightmare
• Munson: Donaghy's claims troubling for NBA
• Adande: Shine brighter spotlight on refs
• Sheridan: What next, Commissioner Stern?
• Munson: Q&A about Tim Donaghy and the law
• Sheridan: 10 Q&A on the scandal
• Sheridan: Even Stern uncertain about latest crisis
• Stein: Donaghy questions and answers
• Drehs: Expert finds funny numbers
• Broussard: Refs say it's isolated incident
• Katz: College officials fear lasting backlash
• Jackson: Sad, not shocked
• Drehs: Q&A with gambling expert
• Sheridan: Three big questions
• Simmons: One man out, one league in trouble
• Stein: Players react
• Sheridan: Team USA players react
• Stein: Official nightmare for Stern
• Sheridan: The Donaghy file
• Adande: NBA's image takes another hit
• Jones: More bad news for the NBA
• TrueHoop: Two unproven beliefs remain so
• TrueHoop: Here's an early NBA fixer
TrueHoop• Betting expert: There's more to this story
• Observations on the Donaghy documents
• No specific mention of game-fixing
• Donaghy treated for gambling addiction
• Reaction to Donaghy's guilty pleas
• Donaghy details from the Justice Department
• Donaghy surrenders; what it all means
SportsNation• Vote: Your reaction
More• NHL: Frei: Keeping eyes open
• Soccer: European scandal awaits resolution