Bob Delaney on the State of NBA Referees

February, 7, 2008
2/07/08
1:51
PM ET

NBA referee Bob Delaney has a new book out about his time working undercover for the New Jersey State Police, posing as the head of a trucking company to infiltrate the mob. I'm reading the book now, and expect to write about it more.

In the meantime, ESPN's Sam Alipour talked to Delaney all about the mob and the book, and finished with this:

Final question: I think most pundits and fans would agree that, as far as referees go, you're the rule and not the exception: A good man who does things the right way. With this scandal in NBA officiating, were you concerned about being painted with the same brush as Tim Donaghy, just because you share a uniform?

Let me give a little thought on this one. I want to word it correctly. [Pauses] When it broke, I was asked to make a statement. Of course, we can't do interviews in the press. But I did answer a guy from the N.Y. Post who ended up at my home: "Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, I cannot share with you my anger, outrage and disgust over this situation." Then the reporter said, "Can I quote you on that?" So I said it again. [Laughs] But to answer the question you just asked, I have lived through corruption scandals in my law-enforcement career, where troopers or officers committed crimes. So I know the feeling of being painted with the same brush because I wear the same uniform. What I tell my fellow referees is, we may share the same uniform, but we're not cut from the same cloth. It's hard to stop evil. The criminal who happened to be an NBA referee does not represent the 99.9 percent of the dedicated professionals that I know the referees to be. And I appreciate you asking me that question. I haven't had the opportunity to share what I just shared with you. I have to be honest with you: It's emotional for me right now. I'm proud of this profession, proud of what we do and proud to be a part of the NBA. I know how good these folks are. When you get painted with the same brush, it hurts.

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