As he rode down the elevator in Brooklyn's federal courthouse,
"This story," said Lauro, "is not over."
You know what? I'm starting to believe him.
Donaghy is gone. Tiny Minded Tim will spend the next 12 months cooling his heels in a Florida prison and finish the final three months of his sentence in a halfway house. He will have to pay the NBA roughly $217,000 to cover the cost of its internal investigation and he will come out of prison a pariah. He will probably write a book, most of which will be (science) fiction, but some of which will be Canseco-esque facts.
The NBA does. It has to know. It has to know whether or not Foster, a 14-year veteran referee who reportedly had 134 phone conversations with Donaghy (none lasting longer than two minutes and many coming before and after Donaghy spoke with his gambling cohort
The problem is, the NBA isn't saying much of anything on the topic.
''The government had complete access to Tim Donaghy's phone records and thoroughly investigated this matter, including conducting an interview of referee Scott Foster,'' the league said in a statement. ''The government has said that they have found no evidence of criminal conduct aside from that of Mr. Donaghy.''
What exactly, then, were Foster and Donaghy talking about? Granted, the fact that some of those phone calls probably went unanswered or straight to voicemail has to be taken into consideration. But
Maybe Donaghy was using Foster. By all accounts, Foster was his only real friend in the NBA and therefore the only referee willing to take his calls. Maybe Donaghy called Foster, pumped him for information and then called Martino.
It's possible that Foster was duped. But he needs to
The league needs to do the right thing. Let Foster do an interview. Let him explain his relationship with Donaghy and tell the world what the calls were all about. It's not a crime to be friends with a guy. Will there be people who don't believe him? Sure. But those people weren't going to clear Foster anyway. Foster is going to be talking to the people who are still willing to give the NBA the benefit of the doubt, and still willing to believe that Donaghy was a degenerate gambler who slipped through the cracks.
Those people are out there. But their numbers grow smaller by the day.