Stern addresses referee situation
By Brian Mahoney
LOS ANGELES ó David Stern came to the defense of his beleaguered referees again Thursday, saying they donít manipulate games or engage in other criminal activity.
And just to make sure, the NBA will go back and re-interview every single referee about Tim Donaghyís latest allegations of rigged playoff series in 2002 and 2005.
Speaking to the media at an NBA finals that has been increasingly overshadowed by the Donaghy scandal, the commissioner said Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals might have been officiated poorly, but honestly and not illegally.
iOn behalf of my officials, Iíd like to tell you that they donít engage in the criminal conduct of which Mr. Donaghy has accused them of,î Stern said.
Donaghy claimed this week in a court filing that two icompany menî worked that game, in which the Los Angeles Lakers used a huge free-throw advantage in the fourth quarter to avoid elimination against Sacramento.
iThe allegations about that are incorrect,î Stern said. iNot true.î
He said he felt idisconcertedî for Boston and Los Angeles players in the finals, and especially the officials ó usually prevented from speaking on their own behalf because of league rules ó who have to idefend themselves against allegations by one of their fallen brethren.î
So Stern took up the defense for them, calling a press conference that began a half hour before Game 4. He has spoken to the media before the last three games ó the last two specifically to respond to Donaghyís allegations.
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