After watching the referee pick up the flag on Sunday afternoon, providing no explanation as to why he had suddenly changed his mind about a blatant pass interference call, the real reason was painfully clear.
Back in 2002, I watched my last NBA game. It was game 6 of the semi-finals, matching the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings were slaughtering the Lakers and looking at a finals matchup with the Nets. That is, until Dick Bavetta and his crooked cohorts turned things around. Bavetta was a ref, not a player, and the incredibly biased calls that he made during that game resulted in “the most amazing comeback ever” for the Lakers. Tim Donaghy, another referee, described the process of how the refs threw that game and others, so it’s certainly no aberration in basketball or any other professional sport. This corruption exists in all sports, and in particular, those that generate the most income. One would be a naïve fool to believe otherwise.
In the case of the mysterious flag pickup, only the ref and his handlers know the real story, but fans should realize that some teams just aren’t “destined” for greatness and Detroit is one of them. It’s bad enough being a Patriots fan and stomaching how they got in to the 2001 Super Bowl with a similarly questionable referee action, but for the fans of the perennial basement dwellers like Detroit, Cleveland, etc., there’s almost no way you’ll ever get to the title bout. It’s all about sales and how many people will tune in to watch those million dollar commercials. The answer is always in the numbers.
It’s interesting to watch the media’s rapid reaction to protect the NFL, jumping out with headlines deeming the refs to be incompetent, not corrupt. You’d think the world just witnessed a UFO landing on Jerry Jones’ field the way they have fired up the debunking machine.
But just in case you still believe in pixie dust and honest officials, read this book and then ask yourself if you think the ref made an honest call.