Ok, so this first paragraph will just be a summation of the Te’o story. For anyone who already knows the story go ahead and skip to the bottom paragraph to see how this pertains to our class. For those who don’t know, Manti Te’o was a linebacker for Notre Dame. He is from Samoan heritage, born in Hawaii, of Mormon faith and went to a catholic school for some reason. In the 2012 football season he lead Notre Dame to an undefeated regular season and a birth in the national title game where they got smacked around by Alabama. That game aside Te’o was the leader on the Notre Dame defense that was one of the best in the country. Te’o won almost every award a linebacker can win in college football and was second in the Hiesman trophy race. What made Te’o so compelling was his tragic story of loss. On September 12th, Te’o lost his grandmother to cancer. Then less than 24 hours later he lost his girlfriend Lenney Kekua to cancer as well. Everyone felt for Te’o back in September. The Notre Dame students cheered him for his strength at all Notre Dame pep rallies. ESPN and other news channels ate this story up. The media attention and Notre Dames winning season pushed Te’o into a national name and top choice for the Heisman. ESPN sports writer Skip Bayless passionatly pushed Te’o for the Hiesman in this article. In the end, Notre Dame was outmatched in the title game and Te’o didnt get the Heisman, but the fame for his play and strength in the face of loss made it look like he would go in the top 10 in this years NFL draft.
On january 16th, Deadspin.com broke the story that Te’os girlfriend Lenney Kekua wasn’t a real person. That she never existed. Then Te’o came under attack from all across the nation. Had he made this women up just to get his Heisman chances up? Did he lie just for the attention of the country? Te’o said he was lied to. That he was tricked into thinking the girl he had an internet relationship with for months was real and he didnt have any reason to think she was fake. So the line was drawn. in most peoples eyes, Te’o was either a schmuck who fell for an awful internet prank and was humiliated in front of the nation. Or he was a sociopath who created this lie to serve himself and help his brand name.
Now more parties involved in this story have come out. the man behind the hoax, who ran Kekua’s facebook and twitter accounts, the man who called Te’o for months using a cypher to cover his voice, is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. I have yet to find a reason for Tuiasosopo to do any of these things but it is evident by the way he has acted since the story broke that he is very involved. It is really interesting to look at the tweets outlined the bleacherreport.com has kept a running article with live updates of the Te’o situation. In there article the outline the entire Te’o story from every angle.
Finally Wednesday January 23rd, Te’o had his first live interview with anyone since the story broke. Here is a video and article of Te’o with Katie Couric. In it he tells his side of the story, why he lied, what his truth is.
His story and whether he was duped or is a lying sociopath is up for you to decide but since i eclipsed the 500 word mark awhile ago, here is my connection for this class. Does Deadspin have the right to publish something that could be very harmful to a persons credibility, character, and future when they dont have every fact of the story? Deadspin article does great damage to all those things involving Te’o, and they didnt have to entire truth at there disposal. They took what they knew, that his girlfriend didnt exist, and ran with it. If Te’o lied, then the public should know the absolute truth, but if he was tricked and had no evil intent, then dead spin just threw out this story for the country to laugh at. So does deadspin have the right to do this without knowing the full truth? Is it ok to just throw out what they know even if it invades Te’os privacy and turns him into a laughing stock when he could be an innocent victim?