Talking About Deflategate With Your Teen


Well, Deflategate and Tom Brady are all over the news again. And it’s not looking good for TB12.

I’m not interested in accusing or defending Brady, though I definitely have my own opinions about his alleged-guilt and the suspension he received. Instead, I think it’s important to realize this provides a great way for us to talk with teens about some important issues.

Here are some thoughts that may be worth a conversation with your teenager and a few questions to consider discussing together as you chew over the ongoing Deflategate fiasco.


  • Integrity means “wholeness.” You are one person, wherever you are. You don’t change from one moment to the next, and you’re not faking it with one group of friends while being someone else around others.
  • Let your integrity defend you. It takes a longtime to build it up, but only a moment to lose it. You generally know whether or not someone has integrity or not. It’s not gained by popularity or public opinion.
  • Integrity comes through a thousand small decisions. We usually pay attention to the big decisions in life, so sometimes they are much easier to get right than the small choices we make when we can think, “No one will notice, this isn’t a big deal at all.” Well, it is a big deal. The small decisions of life will make or break you. Choose integrity in all things. 
  • Questions:
    • What is integrity? If you were to describe someone who has integrity, what would that person be like?
    • When it comes to big decisions and small choices, why might small choices actually be more important to building integrity?
    • What does integrity look like for you in school, on the sports field, with your friends, at home, in church, etc.? What are some of the core values that hold you together and make you “you?”


  • Perception isn’t everything, but it’s a heck of a lot. Your opinion of someone (whether you’re right or wrong) will obviously shape how you treat that person and if you take them seriously or not. Our opinions aren’t always right, but our opinions always make an impact.
  • “More probable than not” was enough to condemn Brady in the Wells Report. In the court of law you need hard evidence, but many people have lost jobs, friends, and reputations because of how things appeared to be. People’s opinions have power.
  • If you don’t want others to make quick decisions about you, give them the same respect you want to receive. Be gracious and allow your first-impression of them to be corrected.
  • Questions:
    • Can you think of someone who has had their reputation ruined because of Social Media? In what ways do you think Social Media makes public opinion so important and powerful?
    • Once someone has their minds made up about you, how could you correct their false perceptions of you?
    • When you make judgments about what other people are like, what are some of the most important things you pay attention to?


  • I don’t know if Brady did it or not, but I do know he could have changed people’s perception be confessing to more than he did when the news first came out. “Yes, I know McNally” or “Yes, we talked about the preparation of footballs but I didn’t order any deflating after the refs checked the balls.” Whatever if was he could have confessed… it would have gone a long way towards shifting the perception that he is guilty.
  • When I was growing up my dad told us, “Always tell the truth, because it’s the easiest thing to remember.” When you make a mistake and when your integrity has slipped, admit it.
  • People are far more forgiving when we openly confess our wrongdoing. But when we try to cover things up, they delight in our downfall.
  • Questions:
    • What is your first response when you hear someone confess wrongdoing? Are you more likely to hold it against them, or to forgive?
    • Can you accept a confession if it only comes after evidence of their guilt has been made known? Why does that evidence weaken their confession?
    • How do you think through whether or not to confess your bad decision if no one else seems to know or care? Should you wait until someone else notices?


  • When we do something wrong, we all instinctively know that some sort of punishment or consequence will come. Even as we hope for mercy, we know that justice is good and right.
  • Taking your son’s phone away for the weekend may be a just punishment if he has been using it inappropriately. Smashing it in front of him and telling him he may not get a new one probably is excessive.
  • Questions:
    • Do you think it was right for Brady to lose four games, 1/4 of the football season for this offense?
    • If you were the Commissioner of the NFL and it was up to you, what would you give as a punishment for Brady? How would you arrive at that decision?

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