What's Happening in Character?

Deflated Reputations: An Ethicist's Take on Tom Brady's Actions

Posted by Dave Keller on Thu, May 7, 2015 @ 16:05 PM

by Dave Keller

Yesterday was not a good day for Tom Brady.

Lots of folks are weighing in today on the NFL’s report from yesterday (known as the Wells Report) regarding the infamous “Deflate-Gate” incident where the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots were accused of attempting to gain an unfair advantage by intentionally altering the air pressure of the footballs in their January 18 conference championship game.

Yesterday’s Wells Report (all 243 pages) paints a relatively scathing picture of the incident, summarized in the following excerpt:

“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that … it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.  In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that [the official Locker Room attendant for the Patriots] and [an equipment assistant for the Patriots] participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities … involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”

(Wells Report, p.2;  NOTE: bold/underline/italics added for emphasis for this article)

“More probable than not.”

Hmmm.  Not exactly 100% conclusive.  

And yet, somehow, in this instance --- at least to me --- those words ARE conclusive. I read major portions of the report this morning, and it is very obvious that Tom Brady knew the balls were being manipulated to his preferences. He clearly engaged in conversations with equipment personnel regarding the topic, including getting angry when the balls were not inflated to his preference.

He knew.

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Topics: Sportsmanship

Coaching for Character: Tips from Dale Murphy's Writing

Posted by Rebecca Bauer on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 @ 17:03 PM

For most American sports fans, this is an incredibly exciting week. It marks the beginning of the men's and women's NCAA College Basketball tournaments (a.k.a. "March Madness"). Each year, these tournaments bring a unique blend of drama, heartwarming human-interest stories, intriguing match-ups, and --- each year without fail --- upsets by underdog teams. For some, these tournaments are more exciting than the World Series or the Super Bowl.

One of the more compelling aspects of the NCAA tournaments is the profound impact of coaching. Whether the team is a household name, or an underdog squad known by very few, coaches roam the sidelines barking out encouragement (or stern correction) to their players. Players respond with maximum effort. It is truly a magical thing to observe. In reality, the tournament games are merely the culmination of months and months of hard work and coaching throughout a grueling season.

This coaching phenomenon is not unique to college basketball. ALL coaches, in ALL sports, at ALL developmental levels, have profound influence on their players.

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Topics: character, Sportsmanship

Character Development: On and Off the Field

Posted by Tip Fallon on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 @ 14:03 PM

By Tip Fallon, graduate of a National School of Character, Roosevelt High School

It is remarkable how the seemingly smallest incidents can make a lasting impact when it comes to character development.  Over 15 years ago, I was playing on my high school soccer team and we traveled to an out-of-county school for a game. This situation was a little different because we played almost all of our regular season games in our own county.  I recall the ride to this game being much further than other games, and we had never played the team before.  As we covered long stretches of road far off the highway to get to the school, I recall feeling out of my element.  This school and town seemed very distant, and different from, the community that we lived in and played in.  

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Topics: Sportsmanship, Youth Sports, Character Development