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Sports Agenda for Thursday (1/17/13) Te’o Edition

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Manti Te'o

SOUTH BEND, IN – NOVEMBER 17: Manti T’eo #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish encourages the crowd to cheer during a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium on November 17, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 38-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

UM

Big Story:
Hmm…let’s see, the Heat won last night; NFL draft season is upon us; and well, other than that it was pretty quie….oh wait, the Manti Te’o story, that’s what I almost forgot about. And yes, I have quite a few thoughts and have had a lot of fun with that story.

Quote of the Day:
“Man knows so much and does so little.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

Manti Te’o:
The biggest question is simple….to paraphrase former Senator Howard Baker
“What did Te’o know and when did he know it?”
So if you have been living under a rock, the sports world was sent into orbit Wednesday afternoon when Deadspin broke a story that Manti Te’o (former Notre Dame linebacker) girlfriend, who reportedly died just before a game, was an elaborate hoax.
I read the initial story minutes after it was posted and here was my reaction as I read through each detail…

First off, let’s give kudos to Deadspin for pursuing the story and breaking arguably the wildest sports story in the last 20 years.
Excellent sourcing, reporting, and within an hour of the story going up Notre Dame had to respond. That’s a powerful story, so great job to them.
On the other hand, how could every sports journalist in the country get so duped?
They all bought the story that first started I believe in the South Bend Tribune, which also spear-headed Te’o’s Heisman campaign.
It’s the story everyone wanted to believe. Triumph overcoming tragedy, heroic athlete, storied institution, championship potential, a squeaky clean athlete with a story that could inspire everyone.
There’s an old saying that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. That was the case here.
But, no one could fathom that someone could put together such an elaborate scheme and why it would involve such a big star in college football.
There’s also the fact that ESPN found no death record of the girl, but when they asked, Te’o told them to back off and they did. #ESPNFAIL
What did he have to gain from being involved, which he has denied?
He stood to become the most beloved college football player in the country and have an increased draft status.
But, now we’re told by Notre Dame he was a victim too.
I don’t buy it for a second.
Look, the kid said he met the girl on multiple occasions and so forth. He was at least complicit in the hoax.
Here’s what he told the South Bend Tribune about his first face-to-face meeting….
Te’o “extending his hand to the stranger with a warm smile and soulful eyes.”
Notre Dame hitched their wagon to him last night.
Why?
Honestly, I’m not sure. But if he was good enough to keep this under his hat for that long, do you really think he can’t fool the Notre Dame higher-ups?
Then there’s former football player Reagan Mauia saying he met the girl.
Yknow, sometimes you should keep your mouth shut, for Reagan, that time was right before he said that.
At the very least, Te’o is guilty of embellishing the story and never stopping it when he knew something.
But again, it’s a pretty awful picture to paint of journalists that all of them were so duped.
All were in such a rush to get the greatest story out of it that they never stopped to ask any critical questions.
Notre Dame and Te’o perpetuated the lie by not coming out sooner as well.
The credibility of Notre Dame, sports journalists, and Manti Te’o are forever tarnished because of this.
That said, we can still have some fun, as I did last night on Twitter….

  • “Great job with that Heisman campaign Manti. Signed, Milli Vanilli”
  • “Manti, that’s a heckuva scheme you cooked up there. Signed, Nevin Shapiro”
  • “Hey Manti, don’t worry it’s all good. Signed, George Glass”
  • “Manti Te’o’s girlfriend story was a hoax. Signed, Lance Armstrong’s drug test.”
  • “Manti Te’o is Einhorn….Einhorn is Manti Te’o” – not mine, but still awesome!
  • “Manti Te’o pulled off a modern day Fawn Liebowitz” – from Mizzou sports beat reporter Dave Matter
  • “Deadspin does more damage to Te’o than Alabama’s offensive line”

This story….this story is going to get worse…and yet is going to be one of the greatest story we see in sports this year.

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