Tim Donaghy Joined A White-Power Gang While In Prison

tim donaghy
Getty Image

New York Magazine‘s feature on former NBA referee Tim Donaghy is a fascinating profile of a complicated man whose continued presence in the basketball world raises lots of tough questions. But we’re not here to talk about those questions; we’re here to focus on perhaps the strangest anecdote from the whole piece, regarding Donaghy’s time on the inside:

Donaghy didn’t much like prison. “Too many criminals,” he says. Men who had killed informants, meth dealers, wives. He called his mother: “Mom! Oh my God! I don’t belong here! I could get killed.” But that didn’t stop him from ratting out his fellow inmates for gambling. Then he joined a white-power gang to avoid retribution (he didn’t want to get the tattoo and says they let him shave his head instead).

First of all, ratting on your fellow inmates for gambling, when you’re IN PRISON FOR GAMBLING, is as low on the honor-among-thieves morality scale you can go, so that’s one strike against him. Then, to avoid getting paid back, he became some sort of honorary white supremacist?

And nobody start with the “do what you gotta do” crap. He didn’t just shave his head (and I desperately want to see a picture of Bald Donaghy), ask if he could hang out with White Power Bill, and join the softball team. I won’t presume to know how exactly prison gangs operate, but I’d be willing to bet that Donaghy had to do something to gain the white-power gang’s protection.

For a person who clearly hasn’t divorced himself from his past (considering he replaced officiating with gambling as his primary profession), this won’t win over anybody waiting for signs he’s bettered himself.

(Via New York)