Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Cautionary Tale

In case there was something I missed
if you are involved in a tryst
and you're thinking of
falling deep in love
make sure that she really exists.

One of the main stories making headlines the past few days is that of Manti Te'o, and his non-existent dead girlfriend. According to the stories, Te'o met a girl named Lennay Kekua in Palo Alto, after Notre Dame played Stanford in 2009. They spoke many times over the phone, meeting sometimes (or not, depending on which accounts you read) when Manti would return to Hawaii. After a while, their relationship blossomed to the point where Brian Te'o, Manti's father, even "came to the realization that she could be our daughter-in-law." Unfortunately, Lennay apparently died in September, 2012, either before of after Manti's grandmother passed away. After the passing of his girlfriend, Manti took the story on the awards circuit, using it to cast himself as a player fighting against overwhelming odds to become a champion.

Recently, stories have come to light that Lennay Kekua never actually existed. She was a construct, created by who knows for who knows whatever reasons. Although Te'o admits to having met her multiple times, as well as having phone conversations where he would fall asleep on the phone while she was in the hospital for leukemia, he was apparently unaware of the fact of her non-existence. Notre Dame has come to the defense of their star, saying that an investigation revealed that Manti had been the victim of an elaborate hoax. Te'o has also offered this as the truth.

With so many conflicting accounts coming from bot Te'o and his school, I have come to three possibilities, listed in order from least to most probable:

3: Te'o was, in fact, the victim of an elaborate, multi-year hoax, the aim of which is unknown. The fact that Te'o and friends claimed to have met at least once, and possibly on multiple occasions, is why this is the least probable.

2: Te'o was in on the hoax in order to raise his publicity. There are few better sports story than those about a compelling hero who has overcome the tragic losses of his grandmother and his girlfriend, within 24 hours of each other, and comes back stronger than ever, ready to lead his team the the national championship game.

1: Te'o was involved in the hoax as a means to cover up his homosexuality. Imagine this: A Mormon football star playing at a Catholic university. Although society as a whole has grown more accepting of homosexuality, neither of those groups will accept a gay among them. My hypothesis is that Manti and his friend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, are involved romantically and the long distance girlfriend story was a clever ruse in order to attempt to cover for him being gay.

Does any of this truly matter? Of course not. There are worse stories concerning the Notre Dame football program, which involve the suicide of a girl who was raped by a football team member, and the withdrawal of a rape accusation by another girl after she was intimidated by texts from another player.

Why can't I just be a sports fan without this stupidity getting in the way?

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