For the uninitiated, Brady's a quarterback in professional football. The rules state that footballs must be inflated to a certain range of pressure, and each team gets to submit footballs they want to use in a game. The balls are checked by the officials, who generally - and I'm not making this up - squeeze them to make sure they feel "right".
The charge is that the balls got deflated below legal limits after that official check in the AFC Championship game last January.
Is Tom Brady a cheater? Maybe.
Have you ever cheated a rule at work? Yes.
Have you ever been caught? Probably not.
The right thing to do if you're caught breaking a rule at work is to acknowledge and rationalize. Acknowledging you did something keeps you out of the integrity police game. Rationalization is there to call BS on all the stupid rules that get in the way of us doing quality work on a day to day basis.
Let's say you broke a rule and took a prospect out of a database that belonged to someone else. Someone called you on it.
Acknowledge and rationalize, people. Here's how that looks:
"Oh yeah, I did take Jamie Womack out of Salesforce and yeah, that's under Bob's tag. The thing was, I just saw Jamie at a conference in Dallas and wanted to give her a call. I'm happy to put that back under Bob, and if it's that important, I'll even do an introduction.
Always acknowledge. Usually rationalize, because the rationalizations are usually true, right?
Here's how Brady should have handled it:
"Well, there's no question I like my footballs at the lowest possible limit for pressure. I always ask my guys to get the balls to that point, and if something happened that they were lower than that, I take responsibility - don't hammer them, hammer me. My intent wouldn't be to go below that, but I want them as low as possible, there's no question. So do most quarterbacks."
"Did I mention I'm married to a supermodel? I kid... (laughter from the press corps...)
Caught breaking the rules? Acknowledge and rationalize. Next question.