The New England Patriots quarterback’s five-year-old daughter was called a “pissant” by a radio personality who has since been suspended, but Brady says he doesn’t want the guy fired
When they go low, you should often go high.
On Monday, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dialed into Boston sports radio network WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan Show” for his regular segment, calling out the network contributor Alex Reimer for referring to Brady’s 5-year-old daughter as “an annoying little pissant” the week before.
“I’ve tried to come on this show for many years and showed you guys a lot of respect … It’s very disappointing when you hear that, certainly. My daughter, or any child, they certainly don’t deserve that,” Brady said, hanging up on the interview shortly afterward. Reimer has since been suspended.
But now that he’s defended his daughter, Brady is moving on: “Look, I think we all go through our life and sometimes we say things we shouldn’t say or make mistakes, and that happens,” Brady said at a pre-Super Bowl media event Monday. “I certainly hope the guy is not fired.”
He’s far from the only celeb to take the high road when confronted with an insult. In 2009, domestic queen Martha Stewart publicly shaded “30-Minutes Meal” guru Rachael Ray, calling out the fact that the Ray says she can’t bake, that she doesn’t have her own at-home vegetable garden and had done “a new cookbook which is just a re-edit of a lot of her old recipes… and that’s not good enough for me.”
But rather than strike back, Ray chose to speak kind words to Stewart, while still standing up for herself, saying: “[Martha’s] skill set is far beyond mine … That doesn’t mean that what I do isn’t important, too… I’d rather eat Martha’s than mine, too.”
Experts say that if you too find yourself on the receiving end of a low blow dished out by a coworker, taking the high road can be a smart move. Here’s how to do it smartly.
Don’t pretend like the insult didn’t happen. “Let the person know what they did and how you felt about,” said author and executive coach Marc Dorio — because there’s no need to be walked all over at work. He added that language such as, “When you did this, it made me feel like this,” is hard for the aggressor to dispute. Have this conversation behind closed doors, ideally, to avoid worsening the situation.
One tip to follow to keep this conversation from escalating: Don’t react instantly. If the incident happens publicly, you might want to take just a few moments to compose yourself and react, or you could delay the conversation until a private opportunity comes up later. One way to postpone the confrontation: Say something like, “‘Why don’t we take a break and we’ll come back and this finish later? I’m not comfortable doing so now,’” says Los Angeles-based etiquette expert Elaine Swann.
Know when to take the high road. If the insult was a one-off thing and doesn’t directly impede your ability to be productive, it’s often best to avoid dwelling on it. “I always liked Michelle Obama’s phrase: ‘When they go low, we go high.’ You’ve got to be the better person in the sense that, you don’t forget, but you have to move on. If you don’t move on you can’t be effective in what you’re doing,” says Dorio. Not only is it important to move forward to put an end to old grievances, but Dorio adds that your superiors will take notice — and be impressed by your maturity.
To move past the confrontation, proffer a joint strategy for addressing it, says psychologist Jessy Warner-Cohen of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York. Say something like: “Do you think we can work this out together?”
Know when enough is enough. If the insult is part of a pattern of behavior and you’ve tried to talk to the person to no avail, putting it behind you might not make sense. In that case, you’ll want to escalate the issue to your manager. If you find yourself in this tricky spot, Swann recommended documenting the aggressor’s individual acts — when they happen, so that your memory is fresh — and presenting those notes to your supervisor as evidence. And if it’s an issue of harassment, do this.
Get advice when you’re not sure what to do. Solicit advice from someone who can objectively help you figure out how to respond. This could be a mentor or trusted friend, but in general, avoid people who tend to get too worked up themselves or other colleagues who could spread gossip and degrade the situation further.
And, “one thing you should not do is rally the troops and talk about [the incident] to five different people, to get people on your side so they’re now up in arms,” Swann cautioned; all that does is escalate the situation and potentially create more drama. “Resist the urge.”
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