Too often in the broadcast media, an important story is shoved below the radar, especially when that story is embarassing to the league or the network.
These days, it is difficult to separate those two entities. ESPN and ABC have paid a boatload of money for the rights to broadcast the NBA, and if the NBA should begin to show signs of deterioration, well, that would be bad for business at Disney. So, when Tim Donaghy's attorney dumped a great, big pile of steaming testimony upon the media's lap on Wednesday, I was skeptical that it would get much attention from the broadcast that night.
Which is especially frustrating, considering that Jeff Van Gundy was front and center in involvement in one of Donaghy's alleged conspiracies (I'm not denigrating here, just trying to be fair).
The way I look at it, commentators should act as our friends, as if we were sitting next to them in our living room. And, last night, if you were sitting next to Jeff Van Gundy, wouldn't the first words out of your mouth be, "Hey, what do you think about what Donaghy said today?" I know the NBA Finals are important, but, come on, how could you not ask that question?
And, thankfully, ABC/ESPN did just that, isolating JVG with lead man Mike Breen during a halftime segment. Sadly, Van Gundy tried to distance himself from Donaghy's allegations (dragging in that old, tired line about Donaghy "denigrating the league," as if the league was some religious entity), and he also tried to backpedal a bit from his comments during the Houston/S.A. series [edit: should have read Houston/Dallas] involving the league's apparent attempt to target Yao Ming.
Still, give credit to the broadcast team for not ignoring the situation. Should Mike Breen have asked more pointed questions? Of course, but that sort of interrogation will never happen between two partners in a broadcast, it's just not realistic to expect that of Breen, or any other commentator involved in such a situation. I'm just happy they didn't ignore what could be - combined with the ongoing Battle in Seattle - one of the most important stories of David Stern's tenure.