I’m innocent. Er, I’m innocent. It wasn’t my needle! It wasn’t my dog!

I’m innocent. Er, I’m innocent. It wasn’t my needle! It wasn’t my dog!

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.


I’minnocent. Er, I’m innocent. It wasn’t my needle! It wasn’t mydog!

What is the cost of alie?

What is the value oftruth?

This is a true storyabout our hero-athletes, and how their misjudgments and lies providelessons that apply to your business, your sales, your career, yoursuccess, and your legacy.

Ever hear the old joke,”How do you know if a salesman is lying?” Unfortunately, thepunch line is, “His lips are moving.”

Over time that joke hasalso been told to describe politicians and lawyers.

More unfortunately, thedark joke is currently being used to describe professional athletestalking about steroid use. Under oath. In front of Congress. YIKES!

Hey wait a minute, myheroes are lying!?

Yes, Dorothy, and theyare just the tip of the iceberg.

Once the green curtainis raised, all kinds of gremlins will be caught in the web. At firstthis whole steroids thing was just a nuisance. Players with money gotsuper steroids — undetectable. Undetectable means, “takes a bitlonger to expose.” Ask Marion Jones. A woman who went from grace,to disgrace, to jail.

Same with Michael Vick,but for a different kind of lie. And most likely the same for steroidcharges against Barry Bonds. Bonds may escape jail, but only becausesteroid use is so rampant in baseball, they’ll have to arrest halfof the players.

Look atwhat happens when you lie:

Everyone knowsyou’re lying.

You look like afool.

Your reputation isshot — tarnished.

Your career, if youhaven’t already retired, will come to a premature end.

No induction intothe Hall of Fame — or, the distinction of an asterisk next to yourname — ALMOST the record — aided by steroids.

Guilty in the courtof public opinion.

Guilty in a courtof law.


Not just costing thesegifted players untold millions in salary and sponsorshipendorsements, but a reputation so tarnished that their fans are nolonger their fans.

Not too pretty, mypretty.

My son-in-law Matt wasthe most rabid (pardon the pun) Michael Vick fan on the planet. As agesture of pure disgust for Vick’s actions, Matt threw his MichaelVick jerseys outside, and let his two (huge) dogs rip them to shreds.Poetic fan justice.

Michael Vick wasn’tjust a villain and a liar; he was an idiot. He gave up 120 milliondollars to watch dogs fight. He may have been a great footballplayer, but he has a mean spirit and won’t be forgiven.

Many sports heroes overthe past decade are questionable heroes. Are Mark McGwire, LanceArmstrong, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, or GarySheffield guilty? Did they or didn’t they break the rules?And if they did, what should be done?

Liars and cheaters inathletics eventually get caught.

Same in sales.

Same in business.

Roger Clemens wasrevealed, not revered.

Babe Ruth was revered,not revealed.

Barry Bonds was tested,not trusted.

Willy Mays was trusted,not tested.

Pete Rose was indicted,not inducted.

Mickey Mantle wasinducted, not indicted.

Pete Rose lied aboutbetting on baseball. Cost him entry into the Hall of Fame.

HERE’S THE LESSON:Small errors in judgment, repeated over time, can cost you yourcareer, even if you were one of the best that ever played the game.

Sammy Sosa got caughtcorking a bat — turns out he was also corking his arm.

Were these playerscheaters? If so, there are a hell of a lot of them. They thought theywere above the law. Turns out they’re now beneath their fans. Fromsuperhero to super zero.

“Random testing” isa cop out, and a bunch of crap. Suppose they did random testing forhonesty at your business. Would you pass the test?

It’s interesting tome that smoking and drinking are okay. You can kill yourself, but youcan’t enhance yourself.

Several, afteraccusation or indictment, came forward and told the truth. Tellingthe truth takes guts. Most people only tell (come clean) after theyare caught — Canseco, Giambi, Pettitte, and a few others. But mostare lying through their teeth — and through a host of overpricedlawyers.

You can debatecongresses self-appointed role as protector of society from peopleusing steroids — and lying about it. Congress is not exactly thebastion of truth itself. If they omitted liars from congress, theremay not be anyone left to run the country.

In sales and inbusiness there are less indictments and less jail, but word-of-mouthfrom lies and misdeeds can be fatal. They damage both business andindividuals. They create or destroy reputation.

Lessons? There areseveral obvious ones. Reread the Ten Commandments for starters. Tellthe truth, it’s the easiest story to remember. The biggest lessonis: If you seek to be the best, get there in a way that leavespositive legacy.

I challenge you to takethe high road, even though the low road may seem to be the easy road.Stay on the yellow brick road. This ain’t Kansas, it’sgame time.

I have a few placesthat you can get more information on the seriousness of lying. Go towww.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enterthe word TRUTH in the GitBit box.