If you have been following social media, or any media for that matter over the last 24-hours, you have become completely aware of the Manti Te’o situation. The news about his fake deal girlfriend on Wednesday, first reported by Deadspin, sent a shock wave through the sports news world.
At first when the news broke, I was very quick to judge, as was most of America. During the season, I was very positive towards Te’o. I basically sunshine-pumped his inspirational story and commended him for being able to do what he has done with all the tragedy he has faced over the last couple of months. His whirlwind of a season resulted in him receiving many college football awards, earned a spot on the Heisman ballot, and then getting to play for the crystal ball in Miami. But if you watched the National Championship game, there was hardly a mention of Te’o, his journey or any evidence that he was on the field for that matter (I know he was, but you know what I mean).
If what Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and Te’o himself are claiming is true, that this was in fact a case where Te’o got played, his performance on January 7th is explainable. But there are too many other questions on why this whole ordeal makes absolutely no sense.
Te’o's family claims to have actually met the dead girlfriend. That Te’o's father Brian has gone into a detailed description of how the relationship evolved from 2009 to the time of her “death” is my biggest question. He even claimed that she came to Hawaii to be with him and his family. But then Te’o claims he never met her, and it was strictly an online thing? He has been mentioning her for three years according to some, and claims she was the love of his life – and he has never once seen her? The questions and answers are not adding up. What about the Arizona Cardinals player who claims she was actually real and he has met her? Then comes the rumor that the World Wide Leader of sports actually knew about this story 11 days ago and has been sitting on it. Why sit on it? Were they told to do that because of the championship game, considering the championship game was just 10 days ago? There are so many questions that need answers, it’s not just about Te’o getting played anymore, it’s about all of us.
The longer that Te’o, Notre Dame and his family sit on this story, the more the public is not going to be willing to believe anything they say. If he was in fact duped and wanted to save face before awards season, he needs to come out and admit that he lied and was embarrassed. Regardless, if you are an NFL scout and were contemplating drafting him, I think integrity has to be a huge question. For lack of better words, put on your big boy pants, face your fears and let the world know your side of the story.
Even the next day after, I am still trying not to pass judgement like I originally did when the story broke. When all these things aren’t adding up, that’s a very hard thing to do. I believed his story, voted for him on many post-season awards ballots and want answers. Just like him, a lot of us feel “duped”.