As you probably are aware, it has been a pretty crappy few days for former Notre Dame linebacker (and Heisman Trophy finalist) Manti Te’o*.
*Seriously, his week was so bad even Lance Armstrong feels sorry for him.
While new information, allegations, and claims continue to come out, we’re pretty much down to three likely scenarios for how this happened:
- Te’o was truly duped into believing that he was dating a person who did not exist. Many of his early comments were what he believed to be the truth. Once he grew suspicious/figured it out, he kept the lie going to protect his reputation (and draft stock).
- Te’o was in on it from the start, knew that Lennay Kekua was fictitious, and kept it up in an attempt to garner publicity/sympathy/attention/who knows.
- Te’o is a homosexual at a Catholic university playing a testosterone-driven sport. He concocted a fake girlfriend to fit in, but had to “kill” her to avoid more questions.
Today – and this could change by the time I finish typing this sentence – I would go with he was truly duped. Originally, I went with he was in on it, but I’m starting to have my doubts. I doubt that Te’o is gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but given the numerous bizarre twists and turns in this story, I won’t rule it out.
Why don’t I think Te’o was in on the scam? In reading some of his comments about Kekua’s “death” – especially the transcript of his interview with Sports Illustrated - I’ve decided that to pull off this scam as convincingly, and for as long as he did, Manti Te’o would have to be one hell of an actor, and/or one of the all-time great con artists. Which he could be, but I don’t see it.
But if Te’o was honestly catfished*, there are some seemingly simple ways to prove it:
- If you spend nights on end listening to her breathing into a phone while you slept, show us the phone records.
- If he honored her final wishes to just send roses, let’s see a receipt (and the address they were sent to).
- Give me a plausible reason for why you never used Skype/video chat/FaceTime to see your girlfriend that lived three time zones away.
- Show me any one of a hundred other potential pieces of evidence.
But at this point, I’m not expected to get any of these items, because it would prove what I’m (and others) are starting to suspect:
Manti Te’o is a great football player, but is incredibly gullible (and likely a little naive/stupid).