Referee Scott Foster broke his silence Tuesday, discussing his role in the NBA's betting scandal and his relationship with former official Tim Donaghy in published interviews.
Foster was tied to the scandal after it was reported in July that he and Donaghy took part in 134 phone calls from October 2006 to April 2007. There was no evidence of any criminal activity, but Foster was questioned about the calls during the FBI's investigation.
``They specifically asked me, 'Can you recall Tim pumping you for information?' I was thinking, 'How did I miss this? Am I a moron?''' Foster told USA Today.
Foster was cleared of any wrongdoing last month in the report done by former federal prosecutor Lawrence Pedowitz, who was hired by the league to investigate its referees operations department in the wake of the scandal. The report noted that Donaghy and Foster were close friends, providing a reasonable explanation for the calls.
Still, Foster said he told Pedowitz he wanted to speak on his behalf, which the NBA prevented him from doing during the investigation. Pedowitz recommended he be allowed to do so.
``I was talking about my family,'' Foster told SI.com. ``I told him, There is no way that you can write a report that clears my name. Until the NBA lets me speak to the press and lets me let them see how angry I am about this, it's not going to mean a hill of beans. People don't want to hear from lawyers, they want to hear it from my mouth.'''
Foster worked in this year's NBA finals, which were overshadowed by the Donaghy scandal after the former referee's attorney made fresh accusations of misconduct and bias by the officials. A month later came the appearances that Foster also was dirty.
``The day it broke, my name is in lights, flashing at the bottom of ESPN,'' Foster told the New York Times. ``It's on the Internet, my face is flashing next to Tim's. Then the day the Pedowitz report comes out, a one-line thing says, 'Referee is exonerated.'''
Foster said he's had no contact with Donaghy since word of the investigation began in July 2007, telling the Times that he's ``struggling with'' his feelings for his longtime friend and colleague, who is serving 15 months in a Florida prison.
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