The Curious Case of Desean Jackson and How Perception is Reality

Kevin Kelly

dolph ziggler interviewAt every single wrestling seminar I have ever done, I talk about how Perception is Reality. You are judged by what is believed to be true about you, not necessarily what is true about you.

I learned the concept of Perception is Reality while in the WWE and at first, I fought it. But, over time, I realized that I can fight it all I want but I can’t change the fact that people’s perception is the reality by which others are judged or measured.

I stress this concept at every camp because each of us is in control of other’s perception of us.

Wait… didn’t I just say that people’s perception is the reality by which others are judged? Yes, but knowing that we are in control of what others perceive puts us in charge of the narrative. I can write my own script for others to follow or I can let others do it at my own potential peril.

I used to book the extras in the WWE for a while… you know, the cops, dark match guys, etc. They’d get $250 and catering. Not a bad gimmick. One guy told me that when he’d get booked as an extra, he would never hang with the guys that he was booked with because those other guys had a reputation for being stoners. I also thought it was good strategy because you want to be viewed as who you want to be perceived.

Yes, you are judged by the company you keep and seen through a critical prism that can affect your future.

In Ring of Honor, Davey Richards was supremely talented but was a victim of his own honesty. If a reporter asked him a question, he’d give his true feelings. Sometimes, those true feelings got ROH officials upset and after several incidents, he was removed from the card at Final Battle, the biggest ROH event of the year. So, wouldn’t ROH look past “Davey being Davey” to make sure that one of the best wrestlers in the world was booked on their biggest show of the year?

Sure, but for the good of any organization, there are times where a questionable decision on the surface is done for the right reasons. Talent only carries someone so far and eventually, the wants of the employer have to equal what they are willing to tolerate or changes will happen.

The Philadelphia Eagles released DeSean Jackson on Friday and it seems that most of the reaction has been negative toward the Eagles. Rumored to be on the trading block for two weeks, Jackson was let go, despite being the best receiver on the team, who made the Pro Bowl and is in the prime of his career. Two seasons ago, Jackson publicly complained about his salary.

Why did the Eagles want to trade Jackson? Why did they release him after getting no nibbles on a trade deal? In the real world,DeSean Jackson got fired… “future endeavored”… adios.

On Friday, just before the release went public, a story reported on, highlighted the Eagles’ organization concerns with potential gang connections for DeSean Jackson. Was this story legit? Certainly the timing seemed to be a little sketchy. Is even a word of it true?

None of that matters.

The Eagles decided to part ways with DeSean Jackson because their perception of him didn’t equal what his talent is worth to them.

This isn’t about money. This isn’t about talent. This is about Perception.

When Chip Kelly came to the Eagles early in calendar year 2013, he started with a clean slate. Everyone does… except no one does. You see, before anyone starts a job at the helm of an organization, they find out everything on everyone. Not just in the NFL but anywhere in any job, no matter the industry.

But perceptions on Jackson began while Kelly was still the coach at Oregon, with DeSean missing meetings, showing up late, demanding more money, etc.

So Kelly takes the job with the Eagles, starts with his “clean slate” and in the course of 14 months, Chip Kelly forms enough of an opinion on Jackson to decide to part ways with the talented receiver.

This isn’t about gang affiliations. This isn’t about rumors. This is about Perception.

As soon as I heard that DeSean Jackson got let go, I knew this was about Perception.

He is perceived to be any and all of the following:

Have a bad attitude
Receiving Diva
Doesn’t care about his team
Runs with a bad crowd
In a gang or deeply involved with gang members
Motivated only by money

Are any or all of these things true? It doesn’t matter. And so he’s gone… no more issues with perception and DeSean Jackson in Philly.

Two current examples of Perception being Reality on the current WWE Roster. One is within the industry and that’s Dolph Ziggler, who is super-talented and is perceived within the WWE to be just a “bump guy”… “Loves to take stupid bumps” and that perception of his has become his reality in the WWE.

The other is from friends of mine outside the industry and that’s with Daniel Bryan. My “casual fan” friends have told me that they look at Bryan as a guy but “his hair is greasy and his beard is gross” and that he “doesn’t look like a star like Cena, Rock or Stone Cold”. They don’t perceive him at the level of those other top guys.

Unless Dolph or Daniel Bryan go in an entirely different direction, the current perceptions of them will continue to be reality.

The thing about perception is that it’s easy to establish but hard to change. Once it becomes reality, that’s hard to alter.

Remember, Perception is Reality and you are in control of yours.

Thoughts? @RealKevinKelly on Twitter

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