Sunday, February 14, 2016
WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET
Actions speak louder than words. Visuals tell a story. Emotions need no translation. These are all statements we have heard or said throughout the years. But what do they really mean? Researchers who study nonverbal communication state that self-image and social identity are shaped to a large degree by one's appearance. After this past week in sports, we can certainly see how one's public appearance presents a very telling story.
Exhibit A- Eli Manning. The other evening Peyton Manning appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The topic of the Super Bowl soon shifted to his brother, New York Giants' quarterback Eli Manning and his now famous "stone face." Peyton and Eli supporters know "that" face all too well. It's an Eli face. It means that Eli is thinking. It's his game face. But for the rest of the nation, Eli appeared to be snubbing his brother with his blank facial expression following his big brother's second Super Bowl win. Perception is 90% of the law. However, as a Giant fan, I know that his face, despite the jokes, didn't express what he was thinking. But at the end of the day, that doesn't matter.
Exhibit B- Cam Newton. We have all had our opportunity to read and watch Carolina Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton's Post-Super Bowl press conference. Heck we wrote about it and referred to it a few times last week. One of the nonverbal attributes that Newton exhibited is what every young male and some females have demonstrated when they feel defeated; that hood up, slouch in the seat behavior. For some, it wasn't that Newton walked out of the press conference but rather how he walked into it. His ego-bruised body all packed into a grey hoodie walked into the press conference defeated. It's every middle school teacher's pet-peeve and he demonstrated it beautifully in front of billions of viewers across the globe.
Exhibit C- Jenrry Mejia's cover photo on New Daily News. He looks like a user in the picture chosen for the front page of the Daily News. We know that images sell papers, stories and products. The Daily News chose an image much like the New York Post did. It told a story and made Mejia look like a thug. My closest friends who saw the paper and watched the stories didn't need to turn up the sound as they moved along on the treadmill with the television in the background- they just used the images of Mejia to crucify him.
Exhibit D- The New York Yankees infamous dress code. People sneer at the Yankees' dress code which includes or rather excludes excessive facial hair and long hair, but it's there for a reason. It's called professionalism and it's a nonverbal trait that is earned with careful preparation and continuity. The way you dress and the way you carry yourself says a lot about who you are, regardless if it is true or not. It is what they (the public) perceive.
So, what you see is what you get or is it? Is there another story to tell? Perhaps, but athletes need to think before they look...literally. People will believe what they see and it is important for them and frankly all of us to take a closer look in the mirror before we look out at our audience. We might not like what we see staring back at us when we take a closer look.
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer