Integrity (My Father, Tom, And Pete)

My father has integrity. Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots, not so much. What about Pete Rose? First things first. I think Tom Brady has a bright future in the political arena, if he so desires, since it appears as though he has perfected the nonchalant attitude, and vague memory, that many of today’s elected officials possess. The main player (pun intended) in the “Deflategate” scandal was more than willing to break National Football League (NFL) rules, and I’m not exactly sure why he thought he needed to cheat to be successful.

However, Mr. Brady was less than willing to provide any viable answers or explanations, when questioned by investigators, as to why he used illegally deflated footballs during (at the very least) this year’s American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game. I say at least because when someone gets busted, doing something wrong, it’s usually not the first time the individual has committed that same violation. Most people who are caught speeding on a freeway, stealing from an establishment, or dealing drugs had most-likely been breaking the law, for who knows how long, prior to being nabbed. In the scope of all that is evil, in this world, breaking a League rule, by intentionally deflating a few footballs, barely seems worth mentioning, but any quarterback who would do so certainly lacks integrity.

A person who does not lack integrity is my father. Throughout my entire life that has been the adjective most commonly used by people when they’re describing him. The word, responsible, typically comes in a close second place. My father was the financial secretary, for over 35 years, for the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 997. His job was an elected position, so he was required to run for re-election, time and time again, during his career. Many people encouraged my father, even implored him, to move up through the union ranks, but my father was quite content remaining where he was because he epitomizes the definition of “a family man.” He’d rather be present at all four of his children’s school events, and attend every single ball game, than be forced into traveling in pursuit of climbing the company ladder.

My father was continuously re-elected to his position simply because he was outstanding at fulfilling his secretarial duties. It definitely was not because he was a seasoned politician. In fact, he was so far removed from that type of character that he would not even entertain the idea of conveying ambiguity for the sake of possibly receiving additional votes. I remember there were times when candidates, campaigning for other union positions, would ask my father if they could count on his vote. Sometimes those people asking for his endorsement, if victorious at the polls, would then secure a position of authority over my father.

Of course, the easy and safe thing would’ve been for my father to offer his support, regardless of what he actually intended to do in the voting booth, but that’s not what a man of integrity does. At times my father was faced with having to look his potential boss in the eye and tell the person they did not have his support. He would do so in a courteous manner, and there were no attempts at futile rhetoric nor any hemming and hawing during the process. I can hardly imagine how uncomfortable the conversation must’ve been, for both parties involved, but my father handled the situation with tremendous nobility. Tom Brady could learn a thing or two from my father.

Then there’s Pete Rose. I would not rank the former baseball player’s offence, in today’s professional sports’ world, at the top of the list. Yes, the 17 time All-Star (aka Charlie Hustle) bet on baseball games (forbidden by Major League Baseball). He also agreed to “permanent ineligibility from baseball” in 1989. However, it wasn’t until 1991, when the Baseball Hall of Fame committee voted to ban those on the “permanent ineligibility” list from ever entering Cooperstown. Pete’s gambling violations occurred when he was a player and a manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The former Rookie of the Year even gambled on his own ball club to win games. Win!

If Mr. Rose had waged bets against the Reds then assuredly I would have little sympathy for the two-time Gold Glove winner. I view Charlie Hustle’s misconduct as very minor in comparison to the deeds of numerous other professional athletes who are already enshrined or who’ll be heading there after their playing days are over (E.g. Tom Brady). I am normally a “black and white” sort of guy, but I’m not beyond showing a little mercy once in awhile. Pete Rose remains baseball’s all-time hits leader; therefore, I think he deserves a place in Cooperstown: integrity notwithstanding. In conclusion, my father…yay, Tom Brady…nay, and Pete Rose…okay.


2 responses to “Integrity (My Father, Tom, And Pete)

  • Barry L. Blackstone

    Jim, I really dont care if a baseball player wants to kill himself, or a player lets air out of a ball, or if they bet on a game. I am so fed up with the state of professional sports that I dont give any of them the time of day. I stopped careing about basket ball after Latrell Spreewell punched his coach and the rest of the players came down on his side. They can all go jump in the lake.

  • James P. McCleary

    Thanks Jimmy!!!

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