As a New Englander, last night I wondered if the obsession with “deflate-gate” was just here in our region, or if it extended nationwide. My question was answered this morning when the lead story on CBS This Morning was the Patriots and the inflation level of their footballs.
Listening to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick respond to the questions from reporters, and deny any involvement, I couldn’t help but wonder if this would all go away if they would just say “I’m sorry.”
I’m not suggesting they plead guilty if they are actually innocent. But instead, perhaps they could have included a statement such as:
“While I don’t know how or why the footballs were under-inflated, the responsibility for ensuring our equipment meets NFL requirements is with us. And for that, we are sorry, and will not only cooperate with the NFL during their investigation, but will also look at our internal systems to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
One does not have to admit fault to offer an apology, or to take responsibility for a situation, but doing both can help defuse a situation, and may actually buy you some time to rectify the situation.
For example, last year while staying at the MGM Grand Detroit, a morning water main break disrupted service to the rooms until the early evening, a situation that could have spelled disaster for the hotel. Instead, management and staff turned the situation into a positive – both through their actions (open communication, gifts, and bottles of water) and their attitude, which was upbeat and positive despite what I can only assume was as stressful day. As I wrote soon after, because of their actions I decided to hang in there, rather than moving to another hotel.
As we explain to the kids, an apology doesn’t make the hurt go away, but showing a bit of humanity and humility can go a long way towards “deflating” a situation. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).