Phil Simms, or "Grandma" as he was called when he quarterbacked the New York Giants Football team and seemed so slow afoot, did the commentary for the Patriots/Jets game today. He is slow in a much more important dimension.
When asked his view of Bill Belichick's champion Patriots filming the signals of the Jets during a game - now an issue for investigation by the league - Simms gave these answers (paraphrased):
1. Technically, it isn't against the rules
2. Everybody does it (the Patriots didn't do anything others don't do)
3. It's not effective anyway
Never mind your view of the specific deed. Is Simms' viewpoint now the standard for moral choices for coaches, managers, owners and athletes? And maybe the standard for corporate executives, religious leaders and others?
This kind of thinking is why we have an epidemic in our national pastime of performance enhancing drugs. Win at any cost. No such thing as it's just plain wrong. We don't mind if they cheat as long as we are entertained. So what if it causes lifetime health problems and a tilted playing field for honest competitors?
This kind of thinking is why so many executives "backdated" options - in quotes here because of the euphemism for options that are falsely dated.
The dozens of CEOs with whom I do business week in and week out cringe at this behavior and at the judgment applied by the man in the street. Stories of their efforts to do the right thing are legion.
OK. The remedy is not clear. Perhaps we have to have powerful incentives for both bad behavior and good behavior and ways for the good guys to bring the bad guys to heel. But come on folks, tolerating unethical behavior is the same thing as endorsing it.