Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Morning After - Was It All Real? I Mean 'Fake'?

Well, it's been awhile since I've written anything, and it took a big one to get me over to my Blogger bookmark.

According to the page, I was one of the first 30,000 people to read the Deadspin article on Manti Te'o's imaginary girlfriend. By the time I got to the end of the story, A) I was confused, B) the number had grown to 135,000, and C) I was incredibly delighted.

Because I love chaos. LOVE it.

I'll hopefully have more to say and more time to sprinkle some curiosity over this subject soon. But upon waking up this morning, these are my questions/topics...

1) How on Earth is it possible - in 2012 - to not ever SEE the other person in a relationship?

I'm talking Skype, FaceTime, GoToMeeting, GoogleChat... With all this technology (that surely anyone Te'o's age would have access to and be able to use) readily available, he and his girlfriend pass on all that? No sexting? Nothing?

Come on, now.


Notre Dame held a hastily put-together press conference last night (which I haven't seen in full, but read the report) and released a statement yesterday.

What I noted in terms of the position of Notre Dame:
A) They super-glued themselves to this date of December 26th.
B) Are taking the stance that Te'o was a victim of an elaborate hoax.
C) Notre Dame says that Manti thought it was all real until the first week of December.

Okay - so here's the rub...

Pop quiz: Which of these three
people was most alive in 2012?
Did ANYONE do a story/news item on the Te'o/girlfriend story between December 26th and yesterday? Was it a part of the National Championship coverage? Did anyone ask Te'o about it at the BCS Media Day? And if they did, what did Te'o or Notre Dame say?

I don't know the answer to this yet, but if anyone DID do a story or ask a question, where the hell was Notre Dame on it? Were they complicit or did they facilitate any of it? That's a real question - is it possible that Notre Dame misled the media?

If I were you, I'd always have that date - December 26th - in your mind. Could be nothing, or it could come up as a big part of all this.

UPDATE (1/17/13 09:02): Was browsing the Interwebs and came across Clay Travis' article which has more points on this (some similar, but great minds think alike). Clay did have the YouTube of Te'o's personal struggles being referenced at BCS Media Day.

3) When Te'o gets his Oprah interview, how will he explain the inconsistencies in the timeline?

In particular, the Stanford letter he spoke about in the ESPN feature. Oh, and the death dates being all misconstrued. Now that we have the opportunity for retrospect and with all these different articles that had been put in print over the last four-five months - Te'o has some serious explaining to do. And if he goofs up - watch out.

4) Is Manti Te'o the worst boyfriend ever?

Girlfriend gets in a serious car wreck... doesn't go see her.
Girlfriend has CANCER... doesn't take a visit.
Girlfriend DIES!!!... goes and plays football.

Any girls lining up to date this guy? (Well, at least before he signs his NFL contract?)

5) Where are the priorities of the media?

In a world of so much "gotcha" and aggressive media tactics (we just went through a political season), how does no one - out of all these stories - contact the girl's family? Everyone just took Manti at his word? Seems awfully lazy by a lot of people.

Or was the story too good to worry about it? Star linebacker whose grandmother and girlfriend died within 24 hours of each other? Goes out and plays possibly his best two games of his career? Accuracy and thoroughness had to take a seat on this one - it was just too good. Call Rinaldi.

And there's an extension of this thought - we are talking about the creme de la creme of reporters here. No Jim Gray bullshit - we're talking Gene Wojciechowski, The New York Times, the Gameday crew, on and on. All respected and reputable platforms.

So what else are we not fact-checking? Or is this only done when it's convenient to the story? Is the agenda of having a nice, pleasant story about a boy and his girlfriend more important than the story being true?

How is it that EVERYONE took a nap on this?

6) And here's a good one...

If Manti Te'o was a participant in the hoax... did he capitalize on his grandmother's death? If so, MAJOR asshole move. That's terrible.

One could see if as Te'o's out in all this, however. Te'o can claim (truthfully or not) that he never would have done something like that, that he loved his grandmother, and the perpetrators used this moment of weakness as an opportunity against him.

And that's all fine and good, but what was the purpose of it? Did the perpetrators have some sort of end-game? Just a prank? Extortion? Manti is going to have to answer this.


With all of the questions and points raised here, I will say that in the moment of it all, it was probably difficult to imagine that anyone hearing about the grandmother/girlfriend story imagined that it was all fake. When death is involved, people tip-toe a bit because people that you are unfamiliar with personally are unpredictable in how they deal with those situations. That they wouldn't push that point in his presence is probably understandable. But it still seems to me that someone in the media would have reached out to girl's family.

That's all for the moment. I'll eventually fall out of bed and see what the talking heads have to say. But this is a wild one. Can't wait for the next chapter in this story.

I'm on Twitter, and it is not a hoax. Follow me here.