|NBA players still hoping betting scandal an isolated case|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 15 August 2007 15:03|
If a call goes against a player, will he wonder if the referee had a personal reason to make it?
``I'm sure that there will probably be some guys at some point get into some heated situations and think that, but hopefully they're not very vocal with that,'' Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups said Wednesday in Las Vegas.
``That's just one guy. You can't paint everybody with the same brush. I know that very well. I'm not going to take anything that he did out on any other referee, and I hope that everybody else feels the same way.''
Donaghy pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felony charges in a scandal that rocked the league and tarnished the integrity of the sport. He was released on $250,000 bond and faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Nov. 9 for conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce. He also must pay a $500,000 fine and at least $30,000 in restitution to the government.
Most people around the NBA seem to agree with Billups' attitude toward the officials in light of Donaghy's actions.
Commissioner David Stern and Donaghy's fellow referees have said they believe the former official was acting alone when he made bets on games he was working, and no other referees or players are expected to be charged.
``When this first hit, Commissioner Stern found out what he could and said publicly that it was an isolated situation,'' Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. ``I believe coaches, players and fans are confident that's true, and still believe in the integrity of our game. Hopefully now, we move past this so that the focus is on our great game.''
News of the FBI investigation into Donaghy's betting on games he officiated broke last month, but more details were learned Wednesday when he pleaded guilty.
``I know players wanted to know the details, so I'm just glad that they were pinpointed in court,'' the New Orleans Hornets' Morris Peterson said.
Many top NBA players are in Las Vegas at USA Basketball training camp. Most said they expect the league to recover from the scandal, and don't plan to get too caught up worrying about it.
``We're not going to think about it at all,'' Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant said. ``We've just got to go out there and play and do what we can do to try to win the game for our team. That's it. Just look at the situation for what it is and let the people who are in charge of handling the situation handle it, and when the season comes around, we just have to be ready.''
Donaghy was rated in the top tier of officials, and Seattle's Nick Collison said he remembered Donaghy as being one of the league's better ones. Stern repeated his previous vow Wednesday to review the league's policies to ensure that a scandal could never happen again.
``The league will move forward,'' Nets guard Jason Kidd said, ``and this situation will be behind us, but it will be a lesson learned.''
AP Sports Writers Andy Bagnato in Las Vegas and Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this report.