As the sports world scrambles to find out all the facts and intracacies about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and Lennay Kekua I would like to say this, in a world of hyper-connectivity with face to face phone call programs like Skype and Facetime, whatever happened Manti, you are just a little foolish for not only being duped but for very publicly acknowledging the death of someone you had not met in person.
As a sports fan and football fan I have very mixed emotions about this story, non of my thoughts about Te’o’s talents have changed, he is still the best linebacker in the country and until I know for certain that he was implicit in the hoax I have no questions about his character. However, I have to recognise that on some level, Manti Te’o is a little naïve, everyone in life has been duped and deceived at some point and there’s no shame in that whatsoever, but as a high profile athlete, you have to appreciate that someone is always out to try and make a story on you, good or bad.
If Manti is found to have not been involved in the hoax and that he really thought he had a girlfriend, then I feel bad for the guy, not only for losing someone that meant something to him, but for being made part of a sick joke that will haunt him for his career. On the other hand, if it turns out to be some kind of publicity stunt that he is implicated in then I am very sad as a sports fan to learn of such a thing being done but I am intrigued as to how his draft stock is affected.
In the end, Manti Te’o went through a great deal of pain with the loss of his grandmother the week of the Michigan State game and people have to respect that; my mind goes back to great games had by Brett Favre after his dad died on Monday Night Football and Torrey Smith playing lights out against the New England Patriots after losing his brother. But in Te’o’s case, his story and his fame were in a way multiplied exponentially with the apparent loss of two loved ones in one week. I believe that until the facts are all out, no one should be judged for better or for worse, we just want to know what actually happened.