It’s been a busy month in the lie detection business. But I got fooled this time.
Usually it’s pretty easy for me to see a video and tell instantly if someone’s pants are on fire. Cam Newton’s apology video fooled me the first few times I watched it. Why? I didn’t follow my own rules and made a snap judgement.
Back up…what happened? Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton made an insulting remark to a young female reporter in a press conference about how funny it was to him that she could ask about receiver routes. The backlash was so overwhelming that he posted this apology video:
But was he really sorry or was this just empty words? When I watched the video I noticed his head was down (that can say shame) but then I noticed his asymmetrical smile as he spoke (you can see it—watch the corner of his mouth when he speaks on his right side, your left) which led me to believe he was showing contempt or moral superiority. In other words, putting on a good show but not really apologizing, just lying about his remorse.
And I stayed with my opinion for a few days until I saw him in another interview and noticed that particular lip movement is normal for him. I’d neglected to baseline his behaviors!
Law enforcement uses shifts from baseline behavior as their #1 way to detect lies. When the topic gets sensitive and behavior even as small as lip movements shift, you may have a liar on your hands. Conversely, if behavior stays the same no matter what subject comes up, it’s likely they’re telling the truth.
Body language tells you what’s on someone’s mind, it doesn’t tell you why. So we don’t know if Cam was really sorry about what he said or if he’s sorry about the backlash and losing his sponsors. He fooled me once. But given that he later was reported as saying that he was trying to give the reporter a compliment in the initial press conference, I’m thinking he’s mostly sorry about losing his sponsors. He’s not gonna fool me twice.