Tag Archive for: Lance Armstrong

If You are Wrong – Tom Brady – Admit it Quickly and Emphatically

I don’t know about you but I’m sick and tired
of athletes getting caught red-handed cheating or involved in some scandal only
to defiantly maintain their innocence. Pete Rose, Lance Armstrong, A-Rod come
to mind and now Tom Brady has joined the list. Eventually the truth comes out
and each person only compounded his problems with the lies that ensued. Of
course, this issue isn’t limited to just athletes. We’ve all seen our fair
share of politicians, religious leaders, businesspeople and many others go
through the same thing.

Just once I’d like to hear someone say, “I did
it. It was wrong. No excuses and now I’m willing to bear whatever punishment
comes my way.”
The public doesn’t care why they did what they
did because it’s all excuses. My old high school football coach said it best,
“Excuses are like a—holes. Everybody has one and they all stink!” The only thing
people care about is what they did.
Lying after getting caught only compounds
cheating. Thus the well-known saying, “The cover up is worse than the crime.”
When will they learn? I realize a lot is at stake, but had each of the aforementioned
people taken their medicine when they were caught, odds are they’d be back in
the good graces of the public by now. Tiger Woods, as horrible as his behavior
was, fessed up, sought help, and is in a much better place than Pete, Lance,
A-Rod or Tom.
Football is a game of inches. Sometimes the
slightest advantage makes all the difference between winning and losing. But
the point is not whether or not deflating a football a little bit makes a
difference or not, or whether fans and players think the rule is silly,  IT’S THE RULE.
The issue with Tom Brady is twofold. First, he
chose to break the rule and only did so because he felt it would be an advantage
for him. If he didn’t think balls with slightly less pressure would help he
wouldn’t have instructed others to let a little air out. Like the rule or not,
he knowingly broke it.
Second, and more important now, he lied about
it. For most people when everything is on the line we see their true character.
Sometimes people choose to risk life and limb for others but most people focus
just on themselves. That’s the choice Tom Brady made.
In Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People,
he has some great advice under the section Be a Leader (something Tom Brady is
supposed to be):
“When you’re wrong, admit it quickly and
emphatically.”
Carnegie’s advice taps into Robert Cialdini’s
principle of authority. One shortcut to gain credibility with others is to
admit weakness or mistakes before the other person brings them. In doing so
you’ve viewed as more truthful.
If I were in the NFL, I might get flagged for
a 15-yard penalty for “piling on” with this blog post. I don’t dislike Tom
Brady or the New England Patriots. In fact, I was pulling for them to win the
Super Bowl years ago when they had a chance to go undefeated because it would
have been a historic event. But no longer can I root for them at all because it
seems at every turn Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the organization are
embroiled in controversy over the rules. When there’s smoke there’s usually
fire. Admit you started the fire and do all you can to prevent any more from
starting!
Here’s my final thought: Tom Brady needs to
grow a pair and take his punishment like a man. Of course, maybe he already has
a pair but if so, then they’re obviously a bit deflated too.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
influencePEOPLE 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

 

Lance Armstrong, a Modern Day Robin Hood? Hell No!

So last week, Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he did in fact use banned substances during his career. While this might be a surprise and disappointment to the general public, it wasn’t a shock to anyone inside the sport of cycling nor was it to most athletes. Whenever we see superhuman performances like winning the Tour de France seven times, Flo Jo smashing the 100-meter dash record by a half second, or Roger Clemons pitching at a Hall of Fame level well into his 40s, we should be very leery.

As I listened to Mike and Mike on ESPN radio driving to work they brought up the point that some people have equated Lance Armstrong to a modern day Robin Hood because he helped so many, despite breaking the rules. I say, “Hell no, he isn’t a modern day Robin Hood!”
First, Robin Hood was a fictional character. We see many fictional charters we wouldn’t tolerate in real life. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays some pretty cool action heroes in his movies but would we really tolerate such characters in the real world? Of course not, and it showed when his funny quips, best left for the movies or Saturday Night Live, got him in trouble on a number of occasions while governor of California. Remember the “girlie man” quote he made about budget opponents?
Robin Hood’s motive was all about helping the poor because they were oppressed by the local government and a corrupt sheriff. If you’ve followed Lance Armstrong over the years then you know Lance’s motive was Lance, pure and simple. With his notoriety he was able to help people but it was still about Lance, from the starting line to the finish line.
I heard one commentator say Lance knew he had to do this (confess), that he had no choice. He went on to say he also realizes it’s the right thing to apologize to those people whose lives he ruined. Did you notice it was about Lance first and the people he hurt second? If the right thing had been his motive then perhaps in the absence of the overwhelming evidence he would have approached those same people and apologized for what he’d done, then confessed to the world.
People have said, “But look at all the good he did.” Can’t the same be said for Joe Paterno when it comes to Penn State and their student athletes? Joe Pa had a very positive impact on both but this line of thinking is “the ends justifies the means.” In other words, it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you can point to how you helped others. Bernie Madoff donated millions to various organizations over the years and they benefited tremendously but did that make it right in terms of how he obtained his wealth? Ask the investors who paid his tab.
If there’s a silver lining for Lance Armstrong it’s twofold. First, he has advocates who will never leave him no matter what. Those people who benefitted from the LIVESTRONG foundation are among those. And don’t forget the millions he inspired to work hard at whatever their chosen profession or sport. When it came to inspiration he was like a real-life Rocky.
The second silver lining is the forgiveness of the American people based on the recency effect. Here’s a list of people who played their cards right and, while perhaps not attaining the same level of popularity and income they had prior to their scandals they’re still doing pretty well:
  • Tiger Woods is still the crowd favorite at PGA events.
  • Martha Stewart remains an icon for most homemakers.
  • Pete Rose might just make it into the Hall of Fame during his lifetime because of the legions of fans who believe it’s the right thing to do.

So what does all of this have to do with a blog on persuasion? Here are a couple of closing thoughts.

Aristotle said, “Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” Each of these people influenced legions of us to do things because of who we thought they were. Had we known the truth many of us might have made different choices on what to do with our time, money, effort, and adoration.
When I write about persuasion my bent is ethical persuasion because none of us wants to be manipulated nor do we want to be known as manipulators.  If something is the right thing to do then we shouldn’t have to resort to manipulation to get people to do what we want.
Let me leave you with this; Frank Sinatra sang, “I did it my way” and there’s a part of the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” American mentality that loves this.  That is, until we find out someone’s “way” is to cheat and manipulate, because in the end the ends DOESN’T justify the means. If you want to look yourself in the mirror and feel good about who you are, do the right thing.
Brian, CMCT®
influencepeople 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.