Being from New England, it’s hard to avoid the headlines and reactions to “inflategate” or whatever hashtag/moniker has been assigned to the latest Patriots’ possible missteps. And I’m not sure what bothers me most – that the Patriots may have cheated, or that those of us in New England don’t think it should be a big deal.
A recent Boston Globe article does a good job of explaining the strong reaction – because the Patriots were caught spying in the past, the burden of proof is now with the team during this current scandal.
Because that’s how it works, and that’s how every parent I know explains why lying is problematic to their children. (Seriously kid, if you are going to lie to me about whether or not you took a shower, how am I to know you are telling me the truth about the real stuff?)
Justifying cheating doesn’t make the cheating go away. From what I understand, the Patriots claim they gained no competitive advantage from their spying efforts. While that may sound like a nice way to explain it away, the truth remains – they cheated, they got caught and now everyone is suspicious of them.
(I will say, I don’t agree with the Boston Globe columnist who called the fact that Roger Godell destroyed the film proving the Pats didn’t gain any significant intelligence “one of the biggest mistakes of Goodell’s administration.”)
Other justifications that don’t work – “The Pats would have won anyway,” “They wouldn’t be the first to change the inflation” and “everyone is doing it, but they are picking on the Pats.”
As far as sports go, I’m a casual fan. My day will neither be made or ruined by the outcome of the Super Bowl or any other game. But I do want to be proud of my hometown teams, and today I’m having difficulty with that one.
You know what would impress me? An individual or team who would step up and take responsibility for either their deliberate actions OR for missing out on the small details (perhaps a faulty pressure sensor was to blame?). That is what we grownups do. We take responsibility for our actions.
Since I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen anytime soon, I can certainly use incidents like this one as an example for my children of why lying and cheating may pay off in the short term, but invariably mess things up in the future.