Tim Donaghy will forever be known as a cheater thanks to the role he play in the scandal that shook the NBA to its core when the referee was arrested in 2007 following an FBI investigation into his role in fixing multiple games he officiated.
The story—which has been told a million times now (most recently on Netflix’s Untold)—is a wild one. In a world where we are brought to believe authority figures like teachers, priests, and referees always do the right thing, it was just another reminder that this isn’t always the case.
If you’re somehow not familiar with Donaghy’s downfall, here’s a quick summary.
The official made his NBA debut in 1994 and worked close to 800 games between the regular season and the playoffs before his career came to an unceremonious end.
Donaghy was also a pretty avid gambler who eventually linked up with a couple of guys with mob connections who realized they could exploit his role for their benefit.
Between 2003 and 2007, he was in frequent contact with those associates to tell them what bets to place on games he was overseeing, which resulted in everyone involved taking home a sizeable amount of cash thanks to his ability to influence the outcome of the contests.
However, the scheme eventually attracted the attention of law enforcement officials who conducted the investigation that led to Donaghy surrendering after being charged with multiple counts of conspiracy in 2007.
He was ultimately sentenced to 15 months in prison (although he only served 11), and while many people viewed his incarceration as the unofficial end of the saga, Donaghy didn’t exactly manage to stay out of trouble once the dust settled.
What happened to Tim Donaghy after he was sentenced for his role in the NBA betting scandal?
If you watched the aforementioned Netflix documentary, you know there were plenty of rumors that suggested part of the reason Donaghy received a fairly light sentence is that he agreed to cooperate with the FBI, which was obviously interested in discovering if he was alone when it came to refs improperly influencing NBA games.
While that’s never been confirmed, it appears the mob (which has traditionally not had a great relationship with anyone believed to be a federal informant) ran with the speculation, as Donaghy was severely injured after he was attacked by a fellow prisoner with ties to the New York syndicate in 2008.
However, he was released around eight months later without any further incidents on that particular front.
Many people who’ve interacted with Donaghy over the years say he has an incredibly short temper. One couple who lived next to him in Pennsylvania once described him as a “neighbor from hell” and went as far as to file a lawsuit in 2005 alleging he’d engaged in a lengthy harassment campaign against them (and their six-year-old son).
While he did what he could to stay out of trouble after being released from prison in 2009 (he purchased a number of properties in Florida shortly after to make a living as a landlord), he ended up back in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons in 2017 after he was arrested once again and charged with a felony for allegedly threatening to attack a man with a hammer.
The incident in question supposedly stemmed from an argument with the owner of a home Donaghy believed his daughter was visiting to do drugs, which escalated to the point where the former ref pulled out the hammer (he later defended his actions by stating he was ” “just trying to be a good dad” and prosecutors eventually dropped the case).
Nowadays, Donaghy seems to be living under the radar. Outside of the documentary, we haven’t heard much from him, so it seems like he’s doing what he can to lay as low as possible.