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Stern speaks

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff  July 24, 2007 01:19 PM

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NEW YORK- NBA commissioner David Stern discussed the ongoing investigation of referee Tim Donaghy at a 70-minute long press conference this morning at the Westin Hotel in Times Square.Stern repeatedly asserted that he believed Donaghy represented an "isolated case" while answering questions for the first time about Donaghy allegedly betting on NBA games and providing others with information to profit from NBA wagers.

“I’ll say it again, I understand that this is an isolated case involving an NBA referee who engaged not only in a violation of our rules, but in criminal conduct,” said Stern in his opening remarks. “But let me make it clear, that’s my current understanding, and I await the outcome of the investigation by the FBI and the determination by the Justice Department and what they are going to do with it.”

During his time at the podium in front of about 100 reporters and about a dozen top league officials, Stern chose his words carefully and often took long pauses before answering questions. The witty, sometimes strident, remarks that usually characterize his press conferences were few and far between today. Instead, Stern appeared and sounded humbled by the magnitude of the alleged betting scandal that could involve game-fixing and organized crime.

“I have been involved with refereeing and obviously been involved with the NBA for 40 years in some shape or form,” said Stern. “I can tell you that this is the most serious situation and worst situation that I have ever experienced either as a fan of the NBA, a lawyer for the NBA or a commissioner of the NBA…I feel betrayed by what happened on behalf of the sport regardless of how protective I’ve been [of referees]. This is not something that is anything other than an act of betrayal of what we know in sports as a sacred trust.”

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