Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Tim Donaghy's media appearances (part one)

Anyone who has remotely followed this blog will recall that I stopped some time ago posting information regarding former referee Tim Donaghy's media appearances.  As I explained in less detail previously, I wrongly assumed two key and related things when Donaghy began his book tour in late 2009: 1) that Donaghy would be interviewed, complete with original, informed questions and references to the existing public record (i.e., court filings, plea agreements, public utterances of relevant authorities), and with follow-up questions; and 2) that Donaghy's appearances would be newsworthy.

What I soon discovered after listening to dozens of his "interviews" was that these were essentially scripted appearances.  That is, the questions asked of Donaghy were almost always the same, and were commonly asked in the same pattern/order.  If this wasn't problematic enough for anyone (naively!) assuming this weighty subject matter would be treated seriously, Donaghy's answers were arguably more rehearsed.  Thus, instead of bona fide interviews, these were more akin to canned political stump speeches.  [As an aside, his ability to remain, as they say in politics, "on message" is remarkable.  Perhaps it isn't entirely coincidental that his publisher was political consultant Shawna Vercher.]

To provide a sense of what I am describing, and thus to to help explain why I ceased covering his appearances, I have put together some montages of Donaghy's replies during the "interviews".  Please note that at some point this process got way too tedious and I thus stopped compiling the clips (you'll see why, I am sure).  As such, the fact that some montages may have more uses of a phrase than others does not represent the relative use of the phrases (i.e., if I offer a clip using 5 instances of a phrase, this should not be interpreted to mean the phrase was used less frequently than a phrase I illustrate being used, say, 15 times in another montage).  Just know that I could have done this in even more detail with still more examples if I wanted to take the time, and that this goes for the number of phrases chosen and for the number of instances certain phrases are used by Donaghy.  Most of the audio files from which these were taken remain online, and many of the links can be found elsewhere on this blog (see, especially, posts from December 2009).

Please be sure to see below the clips for a summary of these and a brief analysis of Donaghy's appearances.

As I have posted elsewhere, Donaghy has often said he did not make "incorrect" or "unjustifiable" calls to facilitate his bets.  In the course of answering questions about the possible fixing of games, Donaghy has also routinely used some variation of the following paraphrased statement (Donaghy mainstays in BOLDED CAPS):

"If I was making incorrect calls in a game to facilitate a bet, I would have been throwing up RED FLAGS and I would have been DETECTED BY THE NBA AND BY THE FBI/LAW ENFORCEMENT even SOONER than I was."
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If (for some reason I can't fathom!) you'd like to see some of Donaghy's "red flag" quotes, for starters you can find them within his published interviews here, here, and here

Here is a smaller sampling (9 references, versus the 17 instances contained immediately above in "Red Flags") of Donaghy routinely using some variation of the following paraphrased statement (Donaghy mainstays in BOLDED CAPS):

"The FBI conducted a THOROUGH INVESTIGATION, as did the NBA, and they each CONCLUDED I wasn't making calls in games to facilitate/influence bets."  [Please note that for the sake of this review, viewers/listeners will have to ignore that, in fact, neither the FBI nor the NBA ever "concluded" that Donaghy didn't influence game outcomes.  I delve into this area in great detail in Gaming the Game.]
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If you're so inclined, almost identical "FBI/NBA/thorough investigation" quotes can be found published here, here, here, and here, for starters.

You can easily perform the task of finding published examples of the phrases from each of the remaining audio clips as I have done, even though I have opted to cease taking the time to post them.

Here is a very brief sampling of Donaghy routinely using some variation of the following paraphrased statement (Donaghy mainstays in BOLDED CAPS):

"The FBI STANDS BEHIND EVERYTHING IN/ STANDS BEHIND EVERY STORY IN/FULLY SUPPORTS THE BOOK."  [Please note that for the sake of this review, viewers/listeners will have to ignore that, in fact, "The FBI" doesn't review books penned by ex-cons, much less offer the Bureau's official endorsement or support for them!  Indeed, federal officials with direct knowledge of the investigation and prosecution disagree considerably with much of what Donaghy claims.  Perhaps most importantly, in light of Donaghy's comments, also note that although retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Phil Scala wrote the foreword of Donaghy's book, SSA Scala takes exception to certain key Donaghy assertions.]
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Here is another very brief sampling, this time of Donaghy routinely using some variation of the following paraphrased statement (Donaghy mainstays in BOLDED CAPS):

"ESPN HAS AN AGENDA to DISCREDIT ME because of ESPN's RELATIONSHIP WITH THE NBA."
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Here is a slightly more lengthy sampling of Donaghy routinely using some variation of the following paraphrased statement (Donaghy mainstays in BOLDED CAPS):

"Was I a rogue referee?  NBA FANS [especially in (insert audience market here)] ARE VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE and THEY HAVE SEEN A LOT OF UNUSUAL THINGS OVER THE PAST 10/15 YEARS."
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Here is a lengthy sampling of Donaghy routinely using some variation of the following paraphrased statement (Donaghy mainstays in BOLDED CAPS):

"I was HIT/WHACKED IN THE KNEE WITH A paint-rolling STICK BY SOMEONE WHO CLAIMED HE HAD TIES TO/WAS ASSOCIATED WITH THE NEW YORK MOB because IT WAS WELL KNOWN/WIDELY PUBLICIZED THAT I COOPERATED WITH THE GOVERNMENT and THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN PRISON BECAUSE SOMEONE/OTHERS COOPERATED AGAINST THEM."  [Please note that for the sake of this review, viewers/listeners will have to ignore that, in fact, that there is no evidence whatsoever Donaghy was assaulted in prison by an associate or member of organized crime.]
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Here is a fairly lengthy sampling of routinely using some variation of the following paraphrased statement (Donaghy mainstays in BOLDED CAPS):

"I am/stay IN CONTACT WITH THE FBI and THEY ASSURE ME THAT THEY HAVE PEOPLE WITHIN THESE (crime) ORGANIZATIONS and that IF THEY HEAR ANYTHING (of concern) THEY'LL GET TO ME/LET ME KNOW RIGHT AWAY."
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Here is very brief sampling of Donaghy routinely using some variation of the following paraphrased statement (Donaghy mainstays in BOLDED CAPS):

"I was ENCOURAGED TO WRITE THE BOOK by FAMILY, FRIENDS, and even LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS, because the story has an important message."
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NOTE: Please see the conclusion to my assessment here.