This past week, the NBA officially released their new dress code for players. The general policy is business casual when they are “engaged in team or league business.” In addition, when a player is at a game but not in uniform they are required to wear a sports coat and dress shoes.
There’s been quite a bit of initial reaction written to the policy. Much of the discussion has centered on whether or not it’s racially biased. Clarence Green wrote to the USA Today saying, “I cannot help but also wonder about the NBA’s reasons for banning items more commonly worn by the African-American players, such as flashy neck jewelry. The new rules seem racist . . . and to threaten a guy’s career with a dress code rule is just over the top.”
Charles Barkley of all people had a really great response on the Jay Leno show. He supports the new policy. He said, “If a well-dressed white kid and a black kid wearing a do-rag and throwback jersey came to me in a job interview, I’d hire the white kid. That’s reality. That’s the No. 1 reason I support the dress code.” That’s not racism. That’s business.
Every business in the country has a dress policy. If you don’t follow it, you don’t work there. The business wants to portray a certain image, and they have every right to choose what that image is. The reality is that people form opinions on others based on what they wear. If you’re in shorts and a t-shirt, you’re not going to thought of as a professional. Also, if you’re wearing a suit people notice.
I’ve had personal experience with this at my church. Whenever I wear a suit, which is not very often, I get a number of comments from people along the lines of “Looking sharp,” “Whoa, what’s the occasion,” or “Thanks for dressing up today!” I find it funny, but it’s reality. In 1 Samuel 16:7, God told Samuel, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” It’d be great if we could see each other for what we really are, but we can’t see another person’s heart. If we could, it wouldn’t matter what we wore. But since we can only see the outward appearance, we need to realize that others will make assumptions on us based on what we wear.