One of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation and maybe of all time has been called out as a cheater. The Wells Report was just released this past week. The report examined the evidence as to whether or not Tom Brady was involved in deflating game balls in the AFC Championship.
This is the Tom Brady, who is a future hall of fame quarterback of the New England Patriots, who has led his team to 4 Super Bowl Championships in the last 14 years, including last year’s nail biter against Seattle. The conclusion on the matter is that Tom Brady was “at least generally aware” of the footballs being deflated in that game. This now opens up all kinds of speculation and possibly deflates his and the Patriots entire legacy.
His agent Don Yee blasted the report calling it flawed and assuming Brady’s guilt before looking at the evidence. New England fans are arguing that every team deflates footballs and the NFL is simply picking on them. The NFL just ruled on this suspending Brady for four games, fining his team one million dollars, and taking away a first-round pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017. On Friday morning when this story really broke out, the sportswriters were expecting him to be suspended this week.
In an interview on the Dan Patrick Show (5/8/2015) Yee was asked if he believed the NFL was going to suspend Brady. Yee then said something very telling, something that has become typical in our society. He said that he believed the NFL would possibly suspend or make a decision to suspend him as they gauge the public opinion. As they gauge the public opinion?
“Gauge the Public Opinion?”
Gauging the public opinion seems to be the new social norm of the day. In other words, if the public outcry is that Brady should be suspended (which many cried out for) then the league might suspend him, and if the public overlooks it then the league ought to overlook it, too. We know now that they did suspend him but does anyone see the problem here? It is one thing to gauge the public opinion about social etiquette but quite another when it comes morals and ethics. Since when do we make decisions based on public opinion and not based on truth?
As this story unfolds, be on the lookout for common fallacies (or wrong ways of thinking) that both sides will use to argue their positions.
There is the appeal to normality argument. This says that what is normal in society should be the standard of goodness. Since it is common it must be valid.
Everybody in our country believes X to be permissible so it should be permissible.
All the other teams deflate footballs so what’s the big deal.
Then there is the old timer argumentum ad populum. This wrong way of thinking appeals to the popularity of a belief. This can also be called the democratic fallacy or the appeal to the mob fallacy.
Hawking, Dawkins and most of the scientific community are atheists so they must be right.
Since the most popular or important people in sports believe it, it must be true.
Our society has had these fallacies (and others) slowly sprayed into our atmosphere over an over again. Now people are breathing them in and not even realizing it. It doesn’t matter whether it is normal in society for people to do something or whether the entire media, crowd, chat room, congress, or country can believe a certain thing to be true; that in itself does not make it true.
Someone else made a colossal decision based on public opinion 2000 years ago. Pontius Pilate caved to the majority of his day about Jesus of Nazareth when he knew he was innocent. We know there was a conflict in Pilate’s heart about this because he sought to release Jesus.
From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” John19:12
In his conversations with Jesus one can tell he struggled. At one point he went out to tell the crowd that Jesus was not guilty. But the Jewish leaders cornered him and eventually with their bullying style peer pressure they persuaded him into giving the final order to crucify the Lord of Glory, the embodiment of truth.
Pilate had heard about truth all his life from various philosophers, but he had convinced himself that there was no such thing. In one of his conversations with Jesus the subject came up.
Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world- to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. John 18:37-38
Pilate did not even want an answer to what truth is which is why he left after his question. But truth was ever so close to him. The embodiment of truth – and if only he had waited for an answer he could have learned. But his society was inundated with relativism as ours is as well.
Our society as well is walking away, plugging their ears, and not interested in hearing about truth. In attempting to be welcoming of other cultures and be multicultural objective truth has been abandoned. Right and wrong depends on your own personal situation. This is called situational ethics. It is a category of moral relativism which states that there is no absolute truth.
The Tom Brady incident is one small example. If he were playing for another team, many of those same fans defending his actions would be calling for consequences. Sports pundits are talking about the integrity of the game being compromised. They are right. But let us not forget that football is a microcosm of life and our society. What about the integrity of our society? It too is being compromised as people do not stand for truth. It should not matter what the situation is, or what popular opinion is.
What is Truth?
Truth is that which corresponds to reality. It is the way things really are. This does nothing for most people today because they have seared their consciences and rejected the law of God which has been written on their hearts.
Why did Pilate struggle in his heart? Why do all people have a struggle in their own hearts many times in their lives? The answer is found in Romans 2:14-16
For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
What the apostle argues is that every person who is alive has the work of the law written on their hearts. Even non-Jews have standards and morals and they are based upon the principles of the law which are written on the heart. Nobody can deny the fact of morality. It does not matter if we have heard the Law of Moses or not. We all respond positively or negatively to the moral law written on our hearts. Therefore, we are all responsible before God and accountable to him as the ultimate law-giver.
There was a conflict in Pilate’s heart between the relativism of his day and the law of God written on his heart. He stood face to face with truth incarnate.
Jesus was destined to go to the cross, to die the death we deserve, and then rise on the third day purchasing redemption for his people. The resurrected savior in speaking to his Father said, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Everything that God has revealed in the pages of Scripture is true. His word can never fail.
Truth and Consequences
“The truth of God, therefore, is the foundation of all religion…. It is no less the foundation of all knowledge,” said the great Princeton theologian Charles Hodge. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all we must live. The Scripture also testifies about this in Psalm 19:7-9:
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
The apostle Peter, in 2 Peter 1:3-4 wrote about the amazing blessings we have in being given the Scripture:
“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life (salvation) and godliness (sanctification), through the knowledge of Him (where? In Scripture) who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
The consequences of abandoning truth are disastrous. A deviation from truth, from God’s Word, will naturally lead to uncertainty and foolishness in all facets of life – from football to family. When a country, an organization, a football team, a family, or a person does not have a solid foundation to stand upon they will fall. May God’s people pray for Tom Brady and this country.
Growing up in the east side of Moreno Valley, California, by way of Detroit, Michigan, liking all sports Detroit, while adding at the tender age of 8 a love for the Denver Broncos, a product of the public education system yet somehow by the grace of God managed to get some graduate degrees, serving the Lord out of Sovereign Grace of Perris, coaching Thai boxing and teaching and preaching the Word, also a proud father of 3, and husband to a faithful daughter of Abraham.