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January 17, 2013

Do 100 average Montanas believe in catfish?

Yeah, about Te'o. It is easy to make broad assumptions and whatnot. However, it is stunning to me that the media, the same media that was duped, either by or with Te'o, is now freely jumping on the Notre Dame official story and riding off with it. Call me an old fashioned skeptic, but I'd at least take some time to figure out the whole story now before I'd buy the 'he was the victim of a hoax' thing. Fool me, once and all that.

My opinion is that there is more to this. Far more. That is my opinion.

Why? Because these are things I know as facts:
  • Manti Te'o is The Star Player at a premier Division I football program.
  • The Star Player at premier Division I football programs doesn't need online girlfriends.
  • Because girls at colleges with premier Division I football programs come in all shapes, sizes, personalities, nationalities, backgrounds, and dispositions. 
  • Especially for The Star Player at premier Division I football programs.
  • Manti Te'o spent a lot of effort and time elevating a myth, even if he was the victim of a hoax.
  • His family helped him by doing the same.
  • Notre Dame and his family would release a report that supports the hoax theory.
Now, is there a plausible theory that Te'o is just the type of guy that meeting a girl in person in South Bend is that hard, and he would have an easier time making a deep connection with someone he'd only met online instead? Sure.

So what is the truth? Who knows? It is my opinion that there is far more to this story than the statements that have been released by Notre Dame and Te'o. Does he deserve the vitriol and criticism he is getting? I think that is to be determined. Does he deserve to be the object of this kind of attention? That comes with the territory. Is is way too early for people to simply brush their hands and say good enough for me? Yes, absolutely.

For what it is worth, I don't blame the media for running with the story of his girlfriend's death. It is heartwarming. It also helped shape the narrative of a genuinely likable guy at a University that folks pay attention to. People love a story about overcoming tragedy. The media isn't going to ask for a death certificate or other proof she used to exist. He said she did and there was a Twitter account to back it up. The starting linebacker at Notre Dame wouldn't lie about that, would he? The lies he did tell about their meeting, him talking to her every night, visiting him in Hawaii, and his father congratulating her over the phone on getting out of the hospital are on him, regardless of how this turns out.

Either Manti Te'o got catfished or are all of us part of a bigger catfishing. It remains to be seen which it is.


Te'o girlfriend hoax filled with more questions than answers (Michael Rosenberg, Sports Illustrated)
- The legend of Manti Te’o just got more complicated (Keith Arnold, Inside the Irish, NBC Sports)


Anonymous said...

Either Teo created the girlfriend for publicity and is now lying about it to get out of the criticism, which is the probability to me at least. Or this ND grad was naive enough to believe this girl was real for 3 years of his life. Both options are bad and embarrassing.

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