It's the last thing that professional sports needs, but the referee scandal in the NBA, breaking in the heat of the finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, might need a congressional look-see. A new poll provided to Washington Whispers suggests that many of us think the sport is fixed and that the NBA had a hand in making sure the Lakers and Celtics made it to the finals, giving the sport a huge TV audience.
The facts: According to the YouGov Polimetrix poll provided to Whispers, 37 percent believe it is somewhat or very likely that the NBA alters the outcomes of games; 29 percent are unsure; 19 percent think it is very unlikely.
Among individuals who identified themselves as "casual" or "avid" fans of professional basketball, 41 percent think that is either very likely or somewhat likely that the NBA alters the outcomes of games. Surprisingly, only 35 percent of non-professional-basketball fans think it is either very likely or somewhat likely that the NBA alters the outcomes. Just 30 percent of professional basketball fans think it is very unlikely the NBA alters results.
The polling firm tells us, "The high level of mistrust persists, despite the fact that only 46 percent of the population was aware that an NBA referee has recently been investigated by the FBI for receiving cash payments in return for passing inside information along to friends and gamblers."
It seems that a lot of us think that there is an unusual relationship between officials and players and coaches, though the pollsters didn't specifically refer to the Tim Donaghy scandal and allegations of rigged playoff games, charges disputed by the NBA yesterday.
It is unclear if Congress wants to look at the scandal, as it has others in the NFL and Major League Baseball, but clearly fans think something's fishy.The poll said that 26 percent of the general population believes the NBA played a role in the Lakers and Celtics being in the NBA finals; 47 percent of NBA fans either think the NBA had some role in the championship matchup, or are unsure if the NBA played a role.
The poll was conducted on June 2-4 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.