By now most people in country, even those that don't follow sports, have heard the story of Manti Te'o and the gigantic hoax that he pulled on quite a few people. With the help of a childhood friend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, Te'o invented a phony girlfriend and back story during the Notre Dame football season in which they played for the National Championship. The story and life that was created for Lennay Kekua, the fake girlfriend, was so complex, intricate and tragic that no one doubted the story, except for some teammates that whispered in the locker room.
The debate right now is how much was Te'o involved. Did he craft the whole thing to make his story more suitable for a national television audience? Was he the victim of the hoax? Was it small joke between friends that got out of hand but proved useful for Te'o? It is doubtful that the truth will ever be known because in these situations it rarely is. There are only a handful of people that do know the truth and as of now they aren't talking, at least to the public. Meetings are being had right now on how best to craft the mea culpa.
What is true now though is that the media has been duped once again. Of recent vintage there was the Balloon Boy supposedly trapped in an escaped weather balloon but was actually hiding in the attic. There was James Fry whose supposed memoir "A million little pieces" turned out to be a work of fiction. Another work of fiction came from Susan Smith that claimed a black man stole her car with her sons in it when in fact she crashed her car into a lake and left them to die. Year after year there is another hoax; Alien autopsy, the Cardiff Giant, Bigfoot, the War of the Worlds and on and on an on.
What could have prevented this hoax was some simple investigative work, a few quick searches on the Internet would have poked one or two holes and all would have been exposed. Right now, as in the past, the media is looking at itself and asking how it could have happened again? Why were we so lazy? Why did we not do our due diligence? While some finger pointing might be going on one thing is for certain; now the media is awake and they are pissed.
If before, Te'o was the story, now he is THE story that everyone is talking about and everyone is writing about. No aspect of his life is off limits now. He wanted media attention and now he has it.
With Te'o's story the media showed restraint and understanding in a delicate situation. A young man's grandmother and girlfriend passed on the same day and they acted humanly and gave him the benefit of the doubt and in doing so didn't do their jobs. Now that they are doing their job and no aspect of Manti's life will be left alone. All resources available to an annoyed media giant are being mobilized to expose every last bit of this man's life, work that should have been done in the first place. So much under the microscope now is he that people are asking if he is gay. Did he concoct this ruse to hide his sexuality in the world of college football, one of the last places in America that it is still not okay to be openly gay? His lies will be affecting his stock in the upcoming NFL draft as well. Being vetted for a job in the NFL rivals that of running for public office, it is a long and grueling process. Perhaps that's why he is coming clean now, after the Deadspin outing of course, because the NFL investigators may have uncovered the truth at a crucial time for his future.
Through all the decit has Te'o improved his life in any way? Has he improved his position in the draft? No, of course not. So what can he take away from this then? Be honest, that's it. We all reach a certain point in our lives that we can stop lying to people because they no long hold any control over us, a point that it is easier to tell the truth than have to remember whom was told what.