We’ve all heard about the uproar. Tom Brady took some air out of a football so he could throw it better. Two guys, including an equipment manager who called himself “The Deflater” helped him do it. Some people found out. They said something about it. While Tom Brady was busy winning the Super Bowl, a bunch of folks were compiling evidence. Then the evidence came out.
Even though it’s not really that big of a deal, it is technically cheating. the National Football League has standards on how inflated the ol’ pigskin should be. Tom Brady (allegedly) purposefully went below it to gain an advantage. He’s not exactly a felon, but it is cheating all the same.
Despite the wealth of coverage and different opinions (it’s no big deal, he should be suspended for life, he’s always been a cheater, every QB does it, etc.), there is one take on the subject that I don’t think anyone can argue with.
Brady made the whole thing worse by not being transparent.
Colin Cowheard, famed ESPN talk show guy, pointed out that “it was the obstruction, not the infraction” that is outrageous. Sure, you shouldn’t cheat. But when you do something wrong, you should just tell the truth.
“I would never do anything outside the rules of play,” Brady said in a press conference after the AFC Championship game where the deflating was first discovered.
(Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)
Except break the rules, that is. But what’s funny is the breaking of the rules got swallowed up by Brady’s handling of breaking the rules. He did all the usual stuff people do when they are busted:
- Denied any wrongdoing
- He minimized the issue, saying, “This isn’t ISIS. No one’s dying. We’ll get through this.”
- He deflected to the positive, saying, “I don’t like the fact that this has taken away some of the accomplishment of what we have achieved as a team.”
- He didn’t say anything, even refusing to turn over text messages to investigators. This made more people think he was guilty.
A really long, really expensive, really unnecessary report reveals that Brady likely knew about the deflating, or at least knew something was not right. He could’ve — in fact, he should’ve — said immediately, “Listen…I like the football a little under-inflated. Quarterbacks all have their preferences. I made mine known to our equipment guys, and they hooked me up. It was wrong. I’ll never do it again. I’m sorry. I don’t think it gained my team an advantage, because we won by a gazillion points anyway, but I acknowledge I broke a rule in order to enjoy my own preference. It was unacceptable. I apologize to the NFL, the Patriots organization, my teammates, and all our fans.”
Instead of denying, minimizing, and obstructing he could’ve just owned it. He could’ve told the truth. He could’ve explained why he did what he did. Former quarterbacks would’ve rushed to his defense, admitting they did the same thing. It would have been a non issue — it would’ve been a story for about a week.
Instead, he’s now the subject of the NFL’s Story of the Year. It’s not about the air. It’s about the ego. Career-long haters have a new round of ammunition to fire off on their blogs, and folks who previously defended him have a harder time doing so these days.
What he did was wrong. What he did after that was even worse.
And as easy as it is to pile on Tom Brady right now, we all have a lesson to learn. We all make mistakes. We all do things that are wrong. When that happens, it’s easy to grow defensive. We deflect. We are self-conscious. We don’t want people to know we blew it.
Remember Adam & Eve? That’s us — hiding in the bushes because we feel so vulnerable about what we did. We’ve done wrong and we’re busted and it’s all out there for everyone to see. God is asking where we are, though He already knows full well. I’ve always wondered why God asks the question. When He already knows what we’ve done, why not just pick us up by the scruff of our neck out of our little hiding spot and confront us with our sins. Why ask “where are you?”
I think it’s because He wants to see what we’ll do when we step out of the bushes.
When we find yourself in that place, the best thing we can do is swallow our pride, get out in front of the issue, admit what we did wrong, and take our lumps. When we blame-shift, ignore confrontational voices, resist accountability, and don’t tell the truth about our actions, we allow the infraction to pale in comparison to the obstruction. In other words, two wrongs don’t make a right.
They just make you twice as wrong.