Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Nonverbal Communication Analysis # 2354:
Rutgers' Basketball Coach Mike Rice
Body Language of Averting Gaze

Rutgers Basketball Head Coach Mike Rice was fired today after videos of him physically abusing his players as well as using homophobic slurs became open knowledge. Athletic Director Tim Pernetti and Rutgers University President Robert Barchi are both now under scrutiny for having not fired the coach in December 2012, when they had first learned of his behavior. Given the recent history a highly publicized suicide of then student Tyler Clementi, many find Rutgers University's gross lack of judgment particularly disturbing.

In the above image Coach Rice is shown making physical contact with a player. Note the athlete's lack of eye contact. During moments of scolding and reprimand with some cultures and subcultures - it is considered proper nonverbal behavior and a sign of respect to look away and avoid eye contact. In other subcultures, the opposite is true.

Another reason for lack of eye contact in this photo crosses cultural boundaries. When we invade others' personal space and particularly when their intimate zones are broached or even if direct physical contact is made - it is natural act to have lack of eye contact. The eyes will instinctively look away. Exceptions may occur among family members and when other relationships-of-significant-affection are involved. Another exception is also seen here with Coach Rice - the emotion of intense anger or rage.