Out of sight, out of mind.
While some may see the San Diego Chargers’ decision to keep rookie linebacker Manti Te’o away from the media as a step in the wrong direction, the headline snatcher can only benefit from the move. Even with their relentless need for more Manti, the media can’t keep feeding off of a fire that isn’t burning.
By putting up a shield between Te’o and the media, the Chargers have effectively forced papers, bloggers and everyone else to find a story elsewhere. The story of “Te’o hides from media” can only last so long. Instead of letting Te’o fuel the fire, the Chargers have cut off controversy’s lifeline.
The next step to recovery for Te’o is avoiding doing anything beyond the football field that’s worth a front-page story.
We all know what happened with his fake girlfriend, but if that’s all the media has to work with, it’s going to get old sooner rather than later. Showing up to Maxim parties honoring his non-existent girlfriend doesn’t help, even if it evidences his ability to be a good sport. As long as Te’o keeps himself out of the spotlight, the media will be forced to move on.
By keeping Te’o out of the media’s eye, the Chargers are also allowing him to focus on football. With minimal distractions, the media magnet can put all of his eggs in the “get better at football” basket. Once he asserts himself as a positive presence in San Diego, the focus will turn from Te’o getting catfished to him being an impact player for the Chargers. That’s the type of attention both him and the Bolts need rather than the circus that came with the scandal.
This has the potential to turn into a Tebow-esque situation that leads to Te’o’s downfall. If he can keep his down and his production up, though, there’s no reason that he can’t develop into a star for the Chargers.
How Te’o approaches things following the media blackout could make or break his NFL career. For now, though, the Chargers made the right choice.