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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  Honesty Really is the Best Policy
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Wednesday, June 3,2015

Honesty Really is the Best Policy

By Mark Tudino  

We’ve all heard this bromide from time to time, usually as it relates to the wrongdoings of public figures. Politicians, actors and the like have all, at one time or another, failed to heed these simple words. You see, it’s not the act of wrongdoing which brings about the most scorn, but rather the attempts to hide the fact a mistake ever took place that usually results in consequences for the perpetrator.

 

From Egyptian pharaohs to American presidents, the powerful, as well as popular, have all been brought to heel because they were, well, heels when it came to coming clean.

This brings us to Tom Brady. It seems ol’ Twahmmy (as he’s known in New England) stands accused of – at the very least – being ignorant of the fact illegal footballs were being used by his team during playoff games. I won’t bore you with the details as there are countless other sources to draw upon if you want discover the nitty gritty of what’s become known as “Deflategate”. As an aside, and as a member of the legal profession, I will say in my opinion the evidence presented, though mostly circumstantial, would be sufficient to show that it was more likely than not Tom Brady was at least aware of the illegality underfoot. But that’s not what this is about, not really. No, what we have here is an example of what was refered to earlier - that the cover-up is worse than the crime.

Don’t believe me? Just check out the NFL rulebook which specifies the punishment to be merited out in case deflated footballs are used by a team. The penalty is a $25,000.00 fine – that’s it. No suspensions, no hearings, no forfeiture of draft picks. But Brady was suspended for four games and his team was fined one million dollars, in addition to other punishments. Why?

Because in the course of its investigation, Brady decided not to fully cooperate with investigators, and refused to provide full access to his communications with other team personnel. Whether or not he directed the others to do the deed doesn’t matter – in the court of public opinion he was part of the “crime”.

“It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.”

Brady’s refusal to admit his part of the scheme – to “own it” if you will – lead the people who run the league to believe the attempts to cover up his involvement were as much a violation of the rules as the incident itself. Maybe it would have been better for him to hold a news conference, say a month after the Super Bowl, and just admit “mistakes were made”. Maybe a punishment would still be handed down, but in the court of public opinion Brady would have come off as a guy who made a mistake and was ready to move on.

Now? He’s just another in the long line, from pharaohs to presidents, who can only say to themselves… what if?

 

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