Free Whistle: Cheating NBA Ref Released From Florida Prison - NBC4 Washington

Free Whistle: Cheating NBA Ref Released From Florida Prison

Former ref Tim Donaghy spent nearly two years in prison for helping a gambler bet on NBA games



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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 28: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to referee Tim Donaghy #21, in the first half against the Phoenix Suns in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2006 NBA Playoffs April 28, 2006 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

    This is one time Tim Donaghy had to be excited not to be wearing stripes.

    The disgraced former NBA referee was a free man Wednesday after serving most of a 15-month sentence in a gambling scandal in a prison near Tampa.

    Donaghy isn’t expected to pick up a whistle any time in the near future, but it’s not a bad idea to check your local YMCA or Boys and Girls Club volunteer rosters to make sure he’s not officiating any games.

    While in the joint, Donaghy penned a tell-all book “Blowing The Whistle," that does not yet have a publisher because Random House blew the whistle on producing the juicy memoirs. Some excerpts leaked to the Internet hinted that numerous refs had favorite players and alleged refs bet with each other during games.

    With the amount of times the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade goes to the free throw line, we wouldn’t be surprised if his name showed up in a paragraph or two.

    Donaghy served 13 months of a sentence that began in a federal prison in Pensacola. He was transferred to a halfway house in June and wound up in the Hernando County Jail in Brooksville after being accused of violating his probation by not showing up for work.

    While in jail, Donaghy allegedly also had a scrape with a New York mobster, who was probably calling for traveling in a pick up game in the prison yard. Or maybe the guy came out on the wrong side of a game or two Donaghy was officiating.

    A New York judge sentenced the ex-referee in July 2008 after Donaghy said he took thousands of dollars from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips on games -- including games he worked.

    The 42-year-old pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce in the tips-for-payoffs scheme.