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4/17/16blog post

caught in the act of lying? don't do this...

Honesty is the foundation of all genuine relationships, but we all lie occasionally. Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski’s recent behavior at the NCAA tournament is a great example of how not to correct life’s occasional missteps.

Mistake number one. After Duke’s loss to Oregon, Coach K spoke with Dillon Brooks from the opposing team, criticizing him for taking a shot at the end of a game that Oregon had already won. Coach K’s behavior was a minor and understandable miscue given the pressure of an intense game.

Mistake number two. Brooks mentioned Coach K’s comments to reporters, who asked the coach about what he had said. One of the most highly respected and well-paid coaches in the country vehemently denied making the comment, angrily telling reporters “I didn’t say that.”

The coach with the most wins in the history of college basketball called a 20-year-old Canadian kid from the University of Oregon a liar. This should have been a time of intense celebration in the life of this young man. Instead, the attention was focused on whether Brooks was trying to tarnish the reputation of a sport’s icon. CBS news later released an audio tape of Coach K’s remarks to Brooks, which totally reaffirmed the accuracy of the Oregon player’s account. Coach K clearly had lied to the media.

Let’s not be too self-righteous. We’ve all lied. Being a successful basketball coach doesn’t inoculate you from that human tendency. What do we tell our kids when they do something wrong? Admit your mistake. Make restitution if you can. Learn from your error. Sounds simple, but good intentions don’t always translate into doing the right thing.

Mistake number three. After being caught lying, Coach K issued a statement that he “reacted incorrectly to a reporter’s question about my comment…” What does “reacted incorrectly” mean? Why not just admit that you lied? Words can be used to conceal or communicate, and coach K chose the former. This is not a great example of how to handle life’s tough times. Here is what Coach K should have said.

In my postgame interview, I lied about what happened in my interactions with Dillon Brooks. There is no excuse for my behavior. I have apologized to Dillon for putting him in this very uncomfortable situation. I am embarrassed by my behavior after the game, and I was just trying to cover that up by shifting the blame to someone else. I was wrong. I’ll strive to do better.”

Wouldn’t that have been a great story to discuss with your kids at the dinner table?