Blog Entry

NBA taps convicted tax evader as director of refs

Posted on: September 24, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 9:19 pm
Posted by Ben Golliverdon-vaden

The NBA has had a perception problem when it comes to the fairness and integrity of its referees for decades. Conspiracy theories concerning match-fixing, big-market favoritism, special star treatment only gained momentum when disgraced former referee Tim Donaghy was busted by the FBI for manipulating point spreads at the behest of a gambling ring.

None of that has stopped the league from naming a convicted tax evader as the new head of its officials. has the details.

Don Vaden, a former NBA referee and the league's current coordinator of officials, has replaced Bernie Fryer as director of officials, league sources said Friday. Fryer will assume another role, as the change was made to protect Fryer's health and not over dissatisfaction with his performance, sources said.

Vaden was ranked among the league's best referees by the end of his on-court tenure, which ran from 1988-2003. But he was also among eight referees charged with tax evasion in 1998 for downgrading first-grade plane tickets and not reporting the refunded money. He was found guilty and served six months' of home confinement and two years of probation.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn't exactly the worst crime in the world. It's not murder, assault or even a Ponzi scheme. This was a group of hard-working guys finding ways to pocket a little extra dough out of what can be a miserable, marathon travel schedule. 

But this was a crime of judgment and this is a high-profile appointment where perception matters. The timing also couldn't be worse. Simply put, the NBA has named a proven tax cheat to head up its group of supposedly impartial referees while it continues to assert that its suffering massive financial losses that continue to be disputed by the National Basketball Players Association during an ongoing lockout.

The whole thing sounds totally unbelievable. And yet, sadly, it's also totally believable at the same time.
Category: NBA

Since: Jan 14, 2009
Posted on: January 28, 2012 11:42 pm

NBA taps convicted tax evader as director of refs

What do you mean NOW that the NBA has a convicted felon running things. The ref pool is filled with convicted felons.  They fired them all then turn around in the middle of the night and rehired everyone except the one guy who refused to play ball and plead guilty. HOW the NBA is not under FBI investigation i do not know. Years ago anotehr ref was rumored to have said that the league office sent word down to keep teh star players in teh game. aka: Give special treatment.

Since: Jun 15, 2010
Posted on: September 26, 2011 10:07 am

NBA taps convicted tax evader as director of refs

Tax Evasion?  Who cares...   Ben Golliver your a joke of a journalist..

Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: September 26, 2011 9:57 am

and it was JOB-RELATED

Worst of all, it wasn't like he was convicted because he improperly claimed an allowance (say, calling a new rec room a "business expense" because it's where he uses his computer to check his work schedule and work travel arrangements ... in addition to playing pool, poker, and pinball with the guys). 

No, the NBA provided him with First Class (or Business Class if FC wasn't available) travel.  He downgraded his class of service, pocketed the money, but didn't report it to the IRS as income.  Now, a teacher, electrician, or factory worker may not realize that is a CLEAR NO-NO, but someone in his position would CERTAINLY know that.

Well, NBA, I hope you at least have the foresight to only provide him with coach-class travel ... or have one of your own people review his travel log and write up his tax returns.

Since: Sep 26, 2011
Posted on: September 26, 2011 3:01 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: September 25, 2011 10:13 pm



 I thought you had to have "point shaving" in your resume to get the job as top NBA ref///

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: September 25, 2011 9:28 pm

NBA taps convicted tax evader as director of refs

NBA hires "tax evader as director of refs" - That sounds about right.

Since: Feb 13, 2009
Posted on: September 25, 2011 8:22 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: September 25, 2011 4:26 pm

NBA taps convicted tax evader as director of refs

The Jazz were never at any point a better team than the Bulls, even during 94 and part of 95 when Jordan wasn't playing.   Karl Malone just didn't have what it takes in crunch time.  And remember, the Jazz still have the record for scoring the fewest points in an NBA Finals game in the shot clock era.  54 points.  That's beyond bad.  You can't score 54 points in a blowout loss in professional ball and claim you were the better team.

Since: Mar 4, 2011
Posted on: September 25, 2011 12:56 pm

NBA taps convicted tax evader as director of refs

Very interesting...
Where there is money, there is corruption.
Now that is a true statement, that most people either don't realize or don't wanna realize.  So, I wonder how much integrity the good ol' NCAA operates with?  I would love to hear Steelers_07 response.

Great comment Steelers_07


Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: September 25, 2011 12:34 pm

NBA taps convicted tax evader as director of refs

Who really cares about the NBA?  Seriously, who REALLY cares?  I am die-hard Boston fan who loves basketball, yet I will only watch the Celts during playoff time.  I used to watch them religiously.  The NBA can fold and I would shrug and take my kids to a Boston College basketball game instead.  No big deal.  Stern's problem is that there are millions of used-to-be-fans that feel the same way.  I actually hope the NBA goes down in flames - maybe it will be a wake up call to the other sports we actually do still love (for now).  If you have not gone to a minor league baseball, college basketball, or other "lesser" sports game - GO! - you will find that less is actually more.  I spent $600 to see the Celts last year for my kids and we had more fun at the $30 (for 3 tickets!) Portland Sea Dogs game. Never again.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or