I don’t care if Tom Brady deflated some footballs to make it easier for his small hands to grip them. I DO, however care, if he lied about it.
As a mother of three children, I have a rule. If I catch you doing something and you ‘fess up, you won’t get punished. If I find out you’re lying, it’s at least double the consequences. Just in case the kids forget, I’ve posted a list of family reminders in the laundry room. The first thing on that list, above “be kind to one another”, “say sorry when you hurt someone” and “brush your teeth”, is “Always tell the truth.”
One of my favorite parenting experts is psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman. In his book, “Have a New Kid by Friday,” he says this: “Lying is a mountain, because in order for there to be a relationship between two human beings, it must be based on trust. Otherwise, you’ll feel violated.” Nooooo wonder why I feel taken advantage of by Tom Brady. “I have no knowledge of anything. I have no knowledge of any wrongdoing,” is what he said in January when asked if he took part in deflating some of the footballs used in the AFC championship game. As one of the NFL Network’s reporters assigned to cover the Patriots during Super Bowl 49 I sat on my hands more than a few times instead of asking him questions about deflategate. Aside from not wanting to be banished by the team from future press conferences, I also didn’t want to embarrass Brady or tarnish his reputation. It wouldn’t be right for that to be the ongoing headline as he won his fourth Super Bowl if he had nothing to do with it. I had heard, with my own ears, him say that he wasn’t involved.
Recently oldest daughter spilt a blueberry smoothie on my favorite white furry blanket. We use it to cuddle up on the couch in the living room and she’s not supposed to eat in that part of the house, let alone on the blanket. She often breaks that rule. Every time she does, the consequences increase. A glass of chocolate milk spilt on the carpet cost her a few weeks’ worth of play dates. The remnants of sticky Easter candy stuffed under the couch so I wouldn’t see her eating it as I walked by resulted in her iPad being taken away for a week. It’s not like she doesn’t know my rule, but the convenience of eating in front of the TV must be more important to her than the consequences. So when she spilled the smoothie on my favorite Pottery Barn throw and hid it in the guest room bathtub, it was game on! The evidence was circumstantial. I didn’t see her spill. In fact it wasn’t until a number of days after it happened that I found the sour-smelling, faux fur scrunched up in the bathtub. My other two children rarely break that rule and neither is so brazen. It had to be her. When confronted she eventually caved, admitting her guilt. Fear is why most of us lie. It was also her reason. She explained that she was scared to tell me the truth because she knew I’d be mad. She was right. I was. Turns out the stain had set in forever. The visual of black, crusty, clumps on my beautiful white blanket provided a teachable moment. Had she come clean right away, the blanket likely wouldn’t have been ruined, because I would have been able to wash out the stain. All would have been forgiven.
I have a feeling that most people feel the same way about Tom Brady. We don’t care how the quarterback likes his footballs, but a popular role model who seems so entitled that he’s willing to stand in front of us with a straight face and lie bothers us. As if he thinks we won’t eventually find the blueberry-stained blanket rotting in the bathtub.
“Kids can be dumb as mud and will do stupid things in life,” Dr. Lehman writes in his book, “But if they own up to them and say they’re sorry, they need to know that life will go on. You won’t beat them over the head for years for their mistake.” Too bad Brady’s not a kid. Life certainly will go on, but probably not without the quarterback’s reputation taking a severe beating because most parents agree with one of Dr. Lehman’s most important pieces of advice, “If your child lies to you, he needs to be caught in that lie and told that lying is not acceptable.”