News recently broke of an unfortunate compromise of integrity on the part of several NBA referees. According to Fox News, ”NBA referee Tim Donaghy made repeated phone calls to a second referee at the same time he provided inside information to professional gamblers during the course of the 2006-2007 season, according to court documents and phone records obtained by FOXNews.com.”
This breach of trust must compromise the referee/team relationship. Surely not every referee bets on the games he coaches or shares insider tips with those who would. But who after reading this story will not look on the next NBA referee with a degree of suspicion? Personally, I pay very little attention to the referees when watching an NBA basketball game. They make their calls and as far as I am concerned the calls they make are correct. If something didn’t seem right, I defer to the ref. How could I be right and the ref be wrong? That’s their job. They are professionals. Apparently, that’s not always the case..
This window into the dynamic nature of what goes on on the floor of some basketball courts is a picture of what happens in academia, in our courts, in TIME magazine’s resurrection hit piece each Easter. No one is a robot. It’s important to ask, What did this person believe before they looked at the “facts?” Where did these “facts” come from? Are there other “facts” that are going unmentioned? Are there other “facts” that conflict with the facts used to make a particular argument? For anyone who has moderated a heated discussion between two close friends over a personal matter, it is apparent that two people can look at the same thing and come to opposite conclusions.
When it comes to the question of Christ, everyone, as the saying goes, has a dog in the fight. If Jesus is who he says he is, that changes everything about who I say I am. If the cross is true, God is more just than we thought he was and we are more guilty than we thought we were. Paul says in Romans 1 that we are “haters of God.” The Scriptures also say that “the wages of sin is death.” That is, we die because we are born in sin and our death is an eternal separation from God. In other words, if we have hated God all of our life, we will get exactly what we lived for. All of us are born, if you will, invested against the truth. With time, the stakes for admitting we are wrong and he is right.
However, admitting that we are wrong and God is right means that we are the loser, but doing so doesn’t mean that we ultimately lose out.
If the cross is true then God is more merciful and more gracious than we could have ever imagined. However, in order to benefit from God’s grace and mercy it is required only that we admit we have need of this generosity. Faith may be expressed in the simple statement, “I am wrong. You are right. I need you to save me.” In Jesus Christ, God has done just this. We are losers, he is the winner, but he offers us his reward.
Here’s another portion of the article,
Donaghy pleaded guilty last August to using inside information to give winning picks to professional gamblers, who paid him when he picked correctly. He said he used a system of one-word codes to communicate his picks over his cell phone to Martino.
He provided picks both for games he refereed as well as for games he did not, and his record was 27 wins, 10 losses, according to sealed court documents obtained by FOXNews.com. He was initially paid $2,000 for each winning pick, and the amount was raised to $5,000 per winner after eight of his first 10 picks were winners.
Donaghy faces a maximum of 33 months when he’s sentenced on July 29.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors said in court that “There is no evidence that Donaghy ever intentionally made a particular ruling during a game in order to increase the likelihood that his gambling pick would be correct. He has acknowledged, however, that he compromised his objectivity as a referee because of this personal financial interest in the outcome of NBA games, and that this personal interest might have subconsciously affected his on-court performance.”
Prosecutors had earlier praised Donaghy for his cooperation in the case, and in a May filing they asked the judge to show leniency at his sentencing. But in a more recent letter, they announced Donaghy’s cooperation did not result in any prosecutable crimes and therefore the ex-ref should not be granted leniency.
In God’s courtroom we will also cooperate but there will be no praise for our cooperation. May all of us be found in his righteousness on the day of our death.