Tim Donaghy, the former NBA referee who was convicted of gambling on basketball games and sentenced to prison, gives talks on gambling addiction today. He is now free from jail, but says he threw away his passion when he bet on games.
Donaghy was featured on the latest episode of “Untold,” a Netflix series examining the darker sides of the world of sports. His episode, “Untold: Operation Flagrant Foul,” was released in August 2022.
He was sentenced to 15 months in prison and lost his beloved career and his marriage due to his crimes.
Here’s what you need to know:
Donaghy Is Divorced Today & Worked in Pro Wrestling in 2021
Donaghy said on the Netflix special that he had a good life until he decided to break the rules. It ended the career he loved, he said, and his wife, Kim Donaghy, filed for divorce in 2007.
But his sense of humor seemed to remain intact. He appeared on an episode of Major League Wrestling’s “Fusion,” in January 2021, playing the role of a crooked officiant. You can watch the match here.
Donaghy served as the corrupt official in a Caribbean Strap match between Savio Vega and Richard Holliday. In order to win the match, one of the wrestlers had to touch all four turnbuckles in the ring. Vega had touched three of the four turnbuckles, but Donaghy blocked him from touching the final one.
His appearance was during a Caribbean Strap match between Savio Vega and Richard Holliday. To win the match, one of the wrestlers had to touch all four turnbuckles in the ring. When Vega had touched three of the four turnbuckles, Donaghy blocked him from touching the final one. Vega became upset, and Holliday was able to sneak in, touch the turnbuckle and steal the win.
“Pro wrestling is entertainment, and I always joked the NBA was a form of entertainment and I compared it a little bit to pro wrestling behind the scenes,” Donaghy told Sports Illustrated in October 2020. “When I was growing up, I always enjoyed pro wrestling, guys like Hulk Hogan and Ivan Putski. I thought it would be fun to get involved and see where it goes.”
“I think people are going to find it entertaining,” he told Sports Illustrated after the 2021 match.
Donaghy Was Severely Beaten in Prison By an Inmate With Mob Ties & Required Surgery for his Injuries
Donaghy was released from prison in June 2009 and sent to a halfway house to finish out the remainder of his sentence, according to an article at the time from Bleacher Report. The location where Donaghy would serve his sentence was called into question due to a brutal beating from a man who claimed to have mob ties. Deadspin shared an excerpt of the press release from a prisoner advocacy group. The release no longer appears online.
Donaghy’s release date has recently been in question due to concerns about his medical condition. Donaghy was injured during an assault in November of 2008. During the assault, another inmate claiming ties to the New York mob beat Donaghy with a heavy object. Donaghy suffered severe knee and leg injuries that will require surgery.
“If this is true, there is potentially even more to Donaghy’s story that has yet to come to light,” the Bleacher Report article said.
Donaghy told the FBI in its investigation that the NBA routinely instructed its referees to manipulate the outcomes of key games. The NBA denied those allegations and others in statements published on the Netflix documentary.
Doanghy Was Arrested Again in 2017, But His Charges Were Later Dropped
Donaghy was arrested again in 2017 following his release from prison after he was accused of threatening a man with a hammer, USA Today reported at the time. The case was later dropped. He was booked into jail in Manatee County, Florida, and released the same day.
The charges stemmed from a reported incident involving his daughter, who was 19 at the time, according to an affidavit of probable cause reviewed by USA Today. Donaghy was looking for his daughter at a Bradenton, Florida home, where one of her friends lived. The affidavit said Donaghy and the homeowner got into an altercation because he believed his daughter was using drugs at the house. Donaghy allegedly confronted the homeowner.
Donaghy’s attorney told TMZ his client did not assault or threaten anyone, and said Donaghy was “just trying to be a good dad.”