Phoenix Suns basketball isn't quite here, but if you're looking for an early excuse to yell at officiating through the television, now's your time to shine. 
"Untold: Operation Flagrant Foul" is now available to watch on Netflix, a documentary that dives into the NBA's scandal of fixing games in the mid-2000's with official Tim Donaghy front and center of it all. 
"Years after serving time for betting on games he officiated, former NBA referee Tim Donaghy revisits the scandal that shook up the league," said Netflix's official description
The feature runs for 1 hour and 17 minutes, and carries a TV-MA rating. 
The documentary was insightful and brought a different perspective into what actually happened behind the scenes, exposing exactly how big the web of people with their hands involved was. 
Donaghy was adamant it wasn't all about the money, as he claimed he was making $400k a year and "didn't need" the extra cash, which was later revealed to be $2,000 per each correct pick given. 
It's important to note that Donaghy remains adamant he did not officiate any games differently, but rather used his inside knowledge of how certain referees would call other games and base his picks from that. 
In example, official Steve Javie received harsh treatment from Allen Iverson and was met with very strict officiating the very next night as retaliation. Donaghy knew this and told his friend (which would later evolve into providing picks to people connected with the Gambino crime family) to bet on the other team. 
In the FBI's investigation, Donaghy reported a gain of $30,000 total from the 100+ games he bet from 2003-07. 
One of the lead investigators in the case spoke later in the documentary and essentially called that a crock of (you know what), as millions of dollars were estimated to be swinging on each game after everybody dipped their hand in the pot. 
The prominent bookie that eventually got into contact with Donaghy told Netflix they used him for 47 games, going for a record of 37-10 for a win rate of 78.7%. 
Another interesting anecdote was when Donaghy spoke about playing "the game within the game" when it came to climbing the official's hierarchy in the league. He made it a point that the NBA was a business, and they wanted their best players to be featured on the court. 
That obviously enticed calls for guys such as Michael Jordan (who defeated the Suns in the NBA Finals early in the 90's) to protect them and keep their product in action. 
Of course, it's hard to argue that Phoenix would have defeated the Bulls, but there's no denying the different treatment for stars such as MJ. 
A few conspiracy theories also made their way into the documentary, mainly focused around the NBA and their overall handling once the FBI brought the game-fixing to their attention. 
A few of the agents in the special believed the NBA leaked what was supposed to be a tight investigation to the public in order to help speed up the process, playing some sort of damage control for their image. 
They also believe when asked to fully cooperate, the league did but also potentially fudged numbers which displayed no bias for their officiating in the specific cases the FBI was after. 
Another theory is connected to fellow official Scott Foster, who Donaghy mentioned multiple times was a great friend of his. Phone records indicate they spoke frequently before, after and even sometimes at halftime of games, potentially tying Foster into the mix (he was found to be clean when he was initially investigated). 
That plays well into the many Suns fans who subscribe to the theory that Foster has it out for Phoenix point guard Chris Paul. Paul is 0-14 in postseason games officiated by Foster. 
For us in the general public, we'll never truly know how much of our beloved basketball product has been altered by these sorts of things. However, the documentary was a very good watch and provided insight into how things unfolded from start to finish. 

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Donnie Druin is the Publisher for Inside The Suns and has been with Fan Nation since 2019. Follow Donnie on Twitter @DonnieDruin for more news, updates, analysis and more!




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