Character.  Capacity.  Creativity.  I believe and contend that these three forces are the pillars of great education and learning.  They collectively foster excellence, growth and change.

I am a huge football fan.  I love the game.  I hate on no teams, while I do have preferences and favourites.  While the game is physical, there is a remarkable mental aspect.  I consider it chess with 300 pound men.

That being said, with this news, I am both encouraged and disheartened.  Part of me was suspecting something of a “sweeping under the rug” what with the Patriots going on to win the Super Bowl.  I am encouraged by the breadth and depth of a 250+ page report that does not do any sweeping.  I am disheartened by the prospect of such news.

Despite its fierce physicality, I believe football to be a noble game of strategy, honor and courage.  While I realize that players and teams attempt to get edges on the field, the existence of systemic cheating takes away from the game…whether by enhancing substances or deflating balls.

I am no pro.   I do know that, in January, a lesser inflated ball is better to grip and throw.  Those who would deny any difference are simply denying.  The ball is easier to throw, and catch.  So, 11 out of 12 balls are found to be deflated.  Text messages implicate the quarterback, as well as staff while not finding any evidence of management involvement.

This is not about hating.  It is about the integrity of a game I love.  It is about example and fairness in sport and life.  Play the game to the best of your ability and let the chips fall where they may.  If this report is substantiated, there are concerns.  As an educator and one who believes real education tackles character, capacity and creativity, I suggest that those involved demonstrated the latter two, at the expense of the first.  All three support one another, and are vital.  Two legs will not make it stand.  We need all three.

So what can the NFL learn?  How does such news not only get accepted and understood, but addressed?  What do we learn here that can foster excellence, growth and change?  The Super Bowl Champions should need nothing other than playing as champions.  Anything less impacts the game and sends the wrong message.

There must be learning in this, going forward.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™