Who's Really the Victim of the Manti Te'o Catfish Controversy?

By Bryan Lutz
Matt Cashore – USA TODAY Sports

An internet catfish. The most unknown, vicious thing that is out on the intrawebz. Thanks to the addicting show on MTV, the term – that is defined as a person who creates their own universe with a fictional identity – has hit the mainstream culture. Thanks to story involving Manti Te’o, though, the term catfish will have an all new meaning.

Thanks to brilliant folks at Deadspin, the place exposed Brett Favre’s gunslinger and the Sarah Phillips fiasco, we now know Te’o’s “girlfriend” never existed. Lennay Kekua, who was supposedly Te’o’s cancer-riddled, car accident surviving better half never existed. Te’o has “allegedly” been duped by a “fake” profile on Twitter. Let me tell you why that is a bunch of malarkey.

More details will obviously come out, just as there will be defiant claims out of the Te’o camp, but I find it extremely hard to believe that the most rewarded defensive player in the history of college football would a) engage in an online relationship and b) fall for a fake profile for more than a year. There is no way anyone can be that naive, let alone someone of the stature of Te’o.

I will be vague with my personal opinion on the matter, seeing as the facts are extremely cloudy. Fact of the matter is, though, we don’t know anybody. Lance Armstrong proved that this week, did he not? While Te’o is described as a faithful man, it doesn’t hide the fact that he could have been in on this scam from the beginning. Yes, I am saying scam. Okay, maybe I wasn’t too vague.

If it isn’t a scam and Te’o was really that naive, then Vince Young might be smarter than he is. There are just too many lies, from not only Manti, but the entire Te’o family to chalk this up as a hoax. Also, the media is as much to blame as anyone in this, seeing as their “facts” were all false. It goes to show that the media will do anything to sell a story, even if it’s a complete farce.

Bottom line: there’s no way Manti Te’o is free from blame. Notre Dame fans (which I am) will probably disagree, but the writing is on the wall. Until there is actual evidence – rather than personal quotes –  prove me otherwise, there’s no way I can believe a word Manti Te’o says again, and you shouldn’t either.

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