Asking the question “is Manti Te’o guilty of lying about the existence of Lennay Kekua?” is just like asking “is O.J. Simpson guilty of killing Nicole Brown Simpson?” Te’o has been caught in a web of lies, but just like Simpson, fame and fortune will make his “error” disappear.
By no means am I comparing both Simpson and Te’o’s actions. Te’o’s lies were an attempt to try and win people’s hearts by taking the life of a fictional person. OJ took the life of a real person and deserved to go to jail for a very long time. Manti, on the other hand, doesn't deserve jail time. He will have to live with the word “phony” tagged to his name for the rest of his athletic career.
When the news broke last week that Manti’s girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, was fake, the whole college football world was stunned. Manti was portrayed by the media as a “special” athlete, someone every school dreamed about having. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick even described Te’o as the “single most trusting human being (he’d) ever met.” One problem Jack, Manti Te’o is a liar.
First off, Manti Te’o is the starting middle linebacker and the face of Notre Dame Football. No way should a person of that stature have to rely on internet dating to find a soul mate. Internet dating is reserved for people like “Bonjour guy” in the State Farm ads, not star football players at Notre Dame. For him to resort to the internet to find a girlfriend is laughable on its own.
If Te’o truly did have to resort to internet dating, there are still many inconsistencies with his story. He claimed to find out on December 6th after the ESPN college football awards show that Lennay Kekua didn’t exist. Instead of killing the fairy tale then, Te’o continued to play it up all the way through the National Championship making reference to his “girlfriend” several times during interviews. If Manti was really duped, don’t you think he would have stopped referencing Lennay?
If this would have happened to Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, I would say he has no hope in clearing his name. But Manti doesn’t go to Northern Illinois, he goes to Notre Dame. There are many rich, powerful Notre Dame Alum that will do anything to make sure the football program keeps its so called “squeaky clean” reputation. This is the same school that was able to sweep the deaths of Declan Sullivan and Lizzy Seeberg under the rug. Most schools would have been crucified if that would have happened to their program, but not Notre Dame.
Notre Dame always finds a way to make stories disappear and I’m sure it will happen with the Te’o incident too. Just recently for the National Championship, an anonymous donor donated $400k to make sure Notre Dame Students could get half priced tickets. You don’t think this same donor would pay off an individual like Ronaiah Tuiasosopo to take the fall to protect the program?
In Notre Dame’s eyes, there’s Notre Dame, and the rest of the universities. No one can compare to the holier-than-thou Notre Dame. Just look at the famous Notre Dame Miami rivalry. Back in 1988, this game was nicknamed Catholics vs. Convicts. Well, it’s not 1988 anymore. If Notre Dame thinks they are anything but convicts, they need to look themselves in the mirror and realize the “Catholics” left a long time ago.