Who's in more trouble?

On the left, we have Michael Vick. NFL running quarterback. Alleged conspirator in dog-fighting ring. Scourge of the US Congress.

On the right, we have Tim Donaghy (Jack's brother?). NBA referee. Alleged gambler and point-shaver. The "worst nightmare" of David Stern.

Clearly, neither man having a good week. And with jail time and the end of their lucrative careers potentially looming, not even going to try and quantify relative levels of suffering. It's like choosing between death by electrocution, hanging, or drowning. And what monster would do that?

But there's a safer topic. Specifically, which league is losing face faster than Michael Jackson? Well, even Donaghy would bet that NFL commish Roger Goodell isn't crying over the crooked NBA ref revelation.

Sure, no one (or animals [that we know of]) died over Donaghy's alleged point-shaving. But should the claims be true, the NBA's long-tenuous credibility could take a body blow; there's a reason why when you say "conspiracy theory" in the Valley of the Sun, fans aren't thinking Mel Gibson. Refs have so much control over basketball games...maybe moreso than in any of the major sports. Baseball umps can't award home runs--or they're not supposed to, at least--but basketball refs can hand out a passel of free throws without fans batting an eye. Once the ball is snapped, a football game will be fast and furious, regardless of the zebras; in a basketball game, the pace of play takes its cues from what the ref is willing to call.

Of course, it's not smooth sailing for the NFL either. Mike Wilbon's column earlier this week--pointing out that high-profile Vick is among the few NFL players who register with the public--gets to an important idea: The league, the Falcons, even the endorsers have invested a lot in this guy. And rest assured, this is one of those times when they'd absolutely settle for Michael Vick, the "mild bust," rather than Inmate # 42244-227, "hardened convict."

But truly, for all the negative publicity that the NFL might get in coming months, what sports fan will put Vick's trouble on the league? Players like Chris Henry and Fred Smoot have been doing stupid and illegal things for years, and the sport's more popular than ever. A team can replace a player--a league can even replace its face.

But once a sport loses credibility...well, you get Rollerball.


posted by Crucifictorious @ 15:36,


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