Politics

01.18.13

Manti Te'o: What Do You Think?

I note with interest that the AP has now discovered that Te'O perpetuated the story of the girlfriend in two interviews after last Dec. 6, when he now says he discovered that young Ms. Kekua never existed:

An Associated Press review of news coverage found that the Heisman Trophy runner-up talked about his doomed love in a Web interview on Dec. 8 and again in a newspaper interview published Dec. 10. He and the university said Wednesday that he learned on Dec. 6 that it was all a hoax, that not only wasn't she dead, she wasn't real.

Well, I suppose to be charitable he could have decided that for the sake of the team and of Our Lady generally, he'd keep a lid on things until old ND played in the national championship game. So if he is innocent, I'm sure that made the whole thing that much harder on him. However, if he was innocent, why not announce on Dec. 6 or 7 that he was scammed? It strikes me that far from deflating the Irish faithful, it would have had, after the inital shock, quite the opposite effect: Everyone would have rallied round the poor sap, and the Irish community would have been galvanized as never before.

Something isn't adding up. A lot of things aren't adding up. My main question, and maybe one of you knows the answer is: If he met this girl in the flesh at that Stanford-ND game in November 2009, who in fact was he meeting? Or was that account just wrong, and they met only online? And if they met only online, did he initially lie about a face-to-face meeting, to give the relationship more credence to sportswriters? Because who would give a shit if somebody someone met only online died? (Incidentally, as luck would have it, I was at that game, with dear Aunt Jan, cheering the Cardinal on to glory, and I can report to you from atop a stack of Bibles that we saw hide nor hair of her!)

The biggest question of all I suppose is, if he was hoaxed, why would people do that? Why would someone who was supposedly his friend, this Tuiasosopo fellow, do this? There was no financial gain. Just a laugh. That's a hell of a lot of trouble to go to for a laugh. Whereas you have to admit, the whole question of motive becomes far clearer if he was in on it.

And obviously, the delicious thing about this story is that it's Notre Dame. This could only happen at that fantasy factory, that appaling symbol of so many things that are rotten and hypocritical about our country. Who can doubt that if Te'o had played anywhere else, it would have occured to at least one journalist, "Hmmm, maybe I oughtta check this out, make sure she's who she says she is." But Notre Dame? Never!

The whole thing has produced tons of wonderful humor. I assume you saw the Deadspin writers' genius response to Donald Trump? It's the most hilarious use of an obvious and coarse putdown of our generation. And so many funny tweets and comments. Someone wrote: "Finally! A reason to hate Notre Dame!" This has been worth it just for those. As for Te'o, he's either an incredibly corrupt human being or too stupid and naive to merit any serious measure of sympathy. Your thoughts?