Over the last few weeks, there has been an overwhelming amount of press coverage over a controversy known as the “Deflate-Gate.” In a recent New England Patriots game, eleven of the twelve game balls used by the Patriots were deflated below the league’s standards. Why does this matter? Because some players, such as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, find a deflated football easier to throw, catch, and hold on to. Each team specifically chooses which footballs their offense will use in the game. The other team’s offense will use different footballs. Even though it’s a relatively minor thing, a deflated ball can be an unfair advantage. On the flip side, a pumped up ball can be harder to hold and can result in bad throws, missed catches, and interceptions. On the extreme end, this advantage could even decide between a win and a loss.
It’s still unclear who tampered with the footballs. It’s possible, maybe even likely, that someone on the New England side did this to give an advantage to their team, especially since they have full control over the footballs they use. Something else to take into consideration is the fact that this isn’t the first time the patriots have cheated (e.g. “Spygate”). Time will soon show who was at fault for this violation.
As debates have taken place on this topic, a variety of different opinions have surfaced. Many are standing behind the motto, “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.” They say this is a non-issue, especially since they think all other teams are doing similar things. Are they right? Even though it’s cheating, should we just overlook it because it’s on a smaller level?
As always, Scripture is the ultimate standard. God has provided us with spiritual insights in all areas of life and godliness, including cheating (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Lord has made it clear that cheating is never acceptable. He calls on us to be people of “truth, and those who hate dishonest gain” (Exodus 18:21; 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:7). He condemns those who lie, trick, deceive, and steal (Proverbs 6:16-19; Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:25; Proverbs 12:22; 2 Timothy 3:13; Ephesians 4:28; Matthew 19:18). It doesn’t matter if it’s tampering with the footballs, taking steroids, or full out bribery, all cheating violates these commands.
No matter the outcome of the “Deflate-Gate” controversy, cheating is never acceptable. For you and I, let’s always be people of integrity and who hate dishonest gain. Proverbs 10:9 says it best, “He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.” Let’s be people who stand for fairness, truth, and honesty.