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Recently we started what is sure to become an recurring feature on The Capitalist - "Fire, Suspend or Wait and See?".  The goal?  To make the right call with an employee facing legal issues, maximizing the company's interest while being an advocate (to the extent you can) for the employee. 

A few days ago, we profiled the Michael Vick saga in our first installment of Fire, Suspend or Wait and See.  My take was that suspension was the way to go for a variety of reasons, with the commenters to the post agreeing with me.

As luck would have it, a new situation worthy of a Fire, Suspend or Wait and See installment has emerged.Nba_official   The NBA (pro basketball, National Basketball Association) acknowledged Friday the FBI is investigating game official Tim Donaghy for betting on games, including ones in which he officiated.  From a recent ABC news article:

"According to a law enforcement official, authorities are examining whether the referee made calls to affect the point spread in games on which he or associates had wagered thousands of dollars over the past two seasons.

The referee had a gambling problem and was approached by low-level mob associates through an acquaintance, said the official, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation."

With that in mind, what's your HR call?  Fire, Suspend or Wait and See?

My call on this one is pretty simple.  The NBA office issued a statement where they acknowledged they were cooperating with an ongoing FBI investigation on the matter.  With this in mind, they undoubtedly have visibility to the activities leading to the investigation.  If there's any smoke at all, they should probably move to fire, with a resignation from Donaghy being preferred.

Why fire on this one instead of suspending similar to the Capitalist recommendation on Michael Vick?  The main reason is that the charges involved (the official hasn't been charged yet, but all indications are that he will be shortly) involve the integrity of the game/company product.  Michael Vick's charges, however outlandish and unacceptable, are for activity outside the game.  The NBA official will be charged for actions that call into question the integrity of every game result in the NBA. 

When a criminal action by an employee threatens the whole enterprise and causes customers to question anything that comes from the company in question, termination is the required course, the earlier the better.



I agree with firing. His actions have damaged the image of the entire company, and the NBA is trying hard to clean up its image already. That being the case, how would you differentiate this from on the court or in the stands brawling by players (especially when they hit fans)? I'd think slugging a fan should draw a similar punishment. No, it doesn't call into question the integrity of the league as a whole, but it's even more damaging for the league's image, as it gets much, much, more news coverage.


I know some poeple that swear the whole league is fixed. One bad apple? Probably not. Suspend until proven guilty. This guy can't do any more damage to the league, unless they provoke him.

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