Thursday, January 17, 2013

Manti Te'o Is A Liar, a Sucker or Both

By now everyone's heard about Notre Dame star Manti Te'o's strange relationship history. While his motivations are still unknown (as is whether he was in on the dead girlfriend hoax or not), one thing is for certain: Te'o is a sucker. There's no other way to put it. If he was in on the hoax, he's a jerk who manufactured a story to drum up Heisman support and if he wasn't in on it, he might be the dumbest man who ever lived. We can forgive college aged kids for certain indiscretions like drunken shenanigans or what have you, but could a guy born in the 90s really be that dense and unfamiliar with technology to be duped like this? Even if he's a mormon?

If you somehow haven't heard yet (and if you're reading this you probably have) I'll quickly sum it up: Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o had claimed that his girlfriend had died of leukemia, this story made the rounds from Sports Illustrated to CNN to ESPN and the Today Show. It was seen as one of those inspiring stories that transcends sports and would eventually be made into a sappy tv-movie, possibly on Lifetime, starring The Rock as Te'o and Selena Gomez (or someone similarly ethnic) as his dying love who propelled him to new heights (the movie would end abruptly after the starting lineups were introduced at the BCS Championship game). Yesterday, it was revealed that his girlfriend wasn't really dead, and here's the kicker, she didn't even exist. It was all a hoax. The only question now is was Manti in on it, or just an idiot? Either way, he's an idiot. If he thought he could get away with a fabricated story of a dying girlfriend in this day and age, when websites like Deadspin exist for the purpose of breaking wacky stories like this (and their name takes on a new meaning today, I wonder if people just now hearing of Deadspin for the first time think that it's a website dedicated to fake death stories) then he's stupid. And if he believed he was carrying on a love affair with a Stanford student for 3 years, never actually met her, and then believed that she died, he is really, really stupid. I'm a few years older than this guy, but my generation is very familiar with social networks and technology, long distance relationships are made (if not easier) much more hands-on through things like Skype and Facetime. It's virtually impossible to not see a person who you are in a relationship with. He's also a minor celebrity who travelled a lot, there's no way he wouldn't have at least once, seen someone who claimed to be this girl. Was there someone masquerading as Lennay Kukua (a made up sounding name if I've ever heard one)? This is beginning to seem like Te'o was a pathological liar, seeing as how he also told his father that he met her at least once, and that she even visited them in Hawaii. I can't believe that anyone under the age of 30 is that gullible. I realize that there's plenty of suckers out there who've been scammed by people who say they are what they aren't on the internet, enough to sustain a film and MTV series. This whole thing just seems like Te'o was using a fictional story to get attention. He cooked up a scheme to milk sentiment from viewers and Heisman voters. Using death (even fake death) for your own personal gain, lying to millions. That's maybe even more of a sucker move than just being fooled by a prankster. Either way, he's a sucker.

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