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The Feds Investigated Bavetta

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The New York Times, in a discussion of the plausibility of Donaghy's claims, discusses the FBI's 2007 investigation of Dick Bavetta, who was the lead official in Game 6.

The FBI has made inquiries about Bavetta, according to a former N.B.A. referee who was interviewed by federal agents last year.

Hue Hollins, who retired in 2003 and has been outspoken about the N.B.A.’s treatment of referees, said he met for about an hour with two agents from New York before last season.

In addition to asking questions about Donaghy, Hollins said the agents inquired extensively about Bavetta. They asked if he ever noticed that Bavetta “was making sure that the home team would win, and I told them I had no idea because I didn’t work with him a lot.”

Hollins said the agents did not ask about a specific team, game or series and did not ask about Game 6 in 2002.

“They were very specific about their questioning, as though they had heard something,” Hollins said. “They knew exactly what they were going after.”

Bavetta's name has not come up much in the ensuing saga, so it's interesting to note the feds took such a keen interest in him. A legal expert in the Times story notes that the lack of charges against Bavetta (or any other ref) does not necessarily mean that the feds are not continuing to investigate the parties. These things take a lot of time.

There's one more quote I want to point out from this story:

“I’ve been refereeing since I was 18 years old; I’ve never suspected a referee of cheating in my life,” said a referee, who required anonymity because the N.B.A. prohibits referees from speaking to the news media.

How much stock can we put into these statements considering Donaghy fixed games under everyone's nose? No one seemed to suspect Donaghy, so why does it matter if they have never suspected Bavetta or any other ref?

I don't think I've linked to TrueHoop's absolute must-read interview with a professional NBA bettor yet. Lots to chew on there.