Growing up, my biggest pet peeve was not being trusted. To be more specific, I hated when someone called me a liar, especially when I was telling the God-honest truth. I’ve told a white lie or two — who hasn’t? But on the important stuff like whether or not I stole a piece of gum from little Jimmy’s bag (OK, it was important to me when I was a kid), I did not like being accused nor did I like being called a liar when I honestly say it wasn’t me.
The older I got, the less of a pet peeve this became. It’s not that I started to lie more (although to be fair, I did come up with some good ones in college as a way to excuse myself from things I didn’t want to do). Rather, I stopped caring about the opinions of people that don’t matter. It’s a much more pleasant way to live life, no doubt. It wasn’t until I joined the Inquirer where I started to realize that being trusted is very important. Heck, it’s my livelihood.
I didn’t originally come up with this analogy I’m about to share, but when I heard someone say it, I immediately took it to heart. Reputation is like insurance. You don’t really appreciate it, until you need it.
Think about the times where you were innocent, but placed in a bad situation, as if your hands were caught in the metaphorical cookie jar. You weren’t taking cookies from the jar, but it sure looks like you did. You say, “I can explain,” and after a thoughtful story, it is up to the accuser to believe you or not. That’s when reputation comes in.
The NFL has a reputation problem. When I see a story of a player accused of domestic violence, the first thing I think of is, how did the NFL and the team not know this? Look at how the league treated Ray Rice or Greg Hardy or Josh Brown or, just a few months ago, Kareem Hunt. Every one of these players were treated differently. The Hunt video came out late November. The incident took place in early February. The NFL claimed they weren’t able to obtain the footage, hence why no discipline at the time. TMZ found a way. Which leads me to ask, if TMZ can obtain the footage, why couldn’t a multi-billion-dollar industry like the NFL?
These questions are why it’s difficult for me to believe the NFL when it comes to player discipline.
I’m sure you can come up with many other industries or organizations that don’t have a great reputation. That’s why it’s important to me and the rest of the Inquirer to always report facts and facts alone, and maintain that good reputation, so that when we report news that can be a bit sensitive, you as a reader can ignore any biases you may have and believe what we say.
I didn’t like being a called a liar when I was a kid, and now that I work in this field I especially don’t like being called one now. But I think I’ve got enough insurance built up so that if I have to write something that might seem crazy to believe that you indeed will say “yeah, I believe him. Why would he lie?”
The NFL can’t do that, as well as other organizations I’m sure you can think of. But that’s how reputation works. It’s just like insurance — you don’t really need it, until you do.