The Current

Cheating Works: NFL tolerates Tom Brady's 'Deflategate'

Tom Brady is a shoe-in for the NFL Hall of Fame and an all-round star quarterback. But then came "Deflategate". This week's NFL investigation into the football scandal suggests other possibilities. And it has us talking about just how widespread and insidious, cheating really is - in life as in sport.
Cheaters never win... Except, of course, when they do. Do you think Tom Brady cheated or was he doing what it takes to win? (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
An NFL-commissioned investigation found Tom Brady was "at least generally aware" of plans by Patriots staffers to doctor footballs to his liking, though the Super Bowl-winning quarterback has denied knowing. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Well, as far as sports scandals go... "Deflategate" might not have seemed like something to get pumped up about when it first surfaced in January. It doesn't centre on gambling, violence, or sex... but on a question of air pressure. And yet it's blown up into one of the NFL's biggest scandals in years.

The New England Patriots were accused of deflating the game balls that star quarterback Tom Brady hurled in a game leading up to the Super Bowl. A slightly deflated ball could be easier to pass and catch. But if it's true that those balls had been doctored, then what would that make football's golden boy, Tom Brady?

Tom Brady claims 'Deflategate' doesn't taint Super Bowl win

7 years ago
Duration 0:56
Will discuss in public when process with NFL is finished.

Yesterday, the NFL released its own internal 'Deflategate' report. 

Matt Bonesteel has been covering the 'Deflategate' scandal for the Washington Post.

The so-called 'Deflategate' scandal and the idea that a sly attempt at cheating could be hiding in plain view had us wondering about just how widespread cheating really is in the world. Both when it comes to big, and small, transgressions of the rules.

Luckily, it's a subject that our panel have given some honest thought to.

  • Dan Ariely is a professor of Behaviour Economics at Duke University, and author of "The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone... Especially ourselves."
  • Tricia Bertram Gallant is an Integrity & Ethics author, teacher and consultant. She was in San Diego, California.
  • Margaret Heffernan is the author of " A Bigger Prize: How We Can Do Better than the Competition". She was in London, England. 

We want to hear from you. Any cheating confessions to share? Is it really making the world such a worse-off place?

Send us an email to You can also find us on Facebook, or on Twitter @TheCurrentCBC.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sarah Grant, Sujata Berry and Natalie Walters.


Why We Lie - Dan Ariely, The Wall Street Journal

Wells Report gave us hilarious text messages about Deflategate - The Washington Post