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What Is The Real Reason Why Manti Te’o Did What He Did?

manti teo hoax equation

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. By now, we all know the story of the Notre Dame linebacker and his fictional girlfriend. the problem is the more we discover, the less we know. As this continues to unfold, as of this writing there are some big questions for which I have yet to hear the answers.

1) Why was there a need for a fictional girlfriend?

Only guys in bad college rock bands get more girls than the star of the football team. Te’o could have been knee-deep in real Irish coeds if he wanted to be, so why was their a need for him to buy into one that existed only in cyber-space?

2) At which point did Te’o become complicit in this hoax?

Make no mistake, he may very well have started out as a victim, but there clearly was a point when Te’o bought into the hoax to the level of helping to perpetrate it. He let his own father believe the girlfriend existed, he told several people he had actually met her, and he mentioned her at the Heisman ceremony two days after it was shown he knew this was all a fraud. In other words, no matter which version of the story you want to buy, there was a point at which Te’o was in on the scam.

3) Is there a reason why this story got out just before Te’o was on the verge of possibly winning the Heisman and/or becoming a multi-millionaire via the NFL Draft?

I completely believe the timing of those events is no accident, but I can’t say why I think that without prematurely revealing my theory as to why this whole sordid affair came to be.

4) Why was Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick so quick to come to Te’o’s defense?

I understand that Te’o is the biggest star in South Bend since Tim Brown or Joe Montana, but Swarbrick clearly went “all-in” on this story well before he had to, well before the all the facts of the story were in public view, and well before he was properly prepared to have such a press conference. If you saw it, you know there’s a point at which Swarbrick become the Martin Short character Nathan Thurm, the fidgety, defensive lawyer who is clearly hiding something.

5) The Multi-Million Dollar Question: Why would Manti Te’o have a vested interest in perpetrating this hoax?

There’s no question that at some point, Te’o helped the lifespan of this hoax regardless of how it started. Why would he do that?  I can understand the “embarrassment” angle; he just felt it was easier to go along with it rather than to blow the whistle. The only problem with that is that is only “upping the ante,” and it costs you the “victim” status.  It begs the question, what made perpetrating a reputation-destroying hoax worthwhile?

At the end of the day, these five questions need to be answered, and until they are, I have my own theory as to why this happened. But before I tell you what that theory is, I want to hear your thoughts on this. Blow up the comments section as to your thoughts on these five questions, and in a few days I will post my theory there. The hint I will give you: My theory is the only thing I could think of that ties all five questions together.

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What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

11 comments on “What Is The Real Reason Why Manti Te’o Did What He Did?

  1. Jsportsfan
    January 20, 2013

    I have two theories. One is that Notre Dame was desperate to regain their mythological status as Notre Dame football, and this story was full of mythology. Two, and I will be blunt, that Te’o is gay and is trying to hide that fact because of the backlash from the Mormon community that he is part of, and from the Catholic community that Notre Dame is part of. Plus, sport still lags behind the rest of the world on the issue of homosexuality. Those are my theories.

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    • J-Dub
      January 20, 2013

      Give that man a cigar. I’ am firmly of the belief that the “gay” angle is what we are going to discover.

      Like

  2. Arian
    January 20, 2013

    Either he’s a gullible dumb jock or he’s gay or both. The non-cynical answer is that he was raised in such a sheltered environment so as to not suspect people are capable of being dishonest. Whatever the answer, I feel that it is none of my business, but the story is intriguing .

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    • J-Dub
      January 20, 2013

      I thought about both the “Dumb Jock” angle and your “non-cynical” answer. “Dumb Jock” fell apart for me at the point where I thought “This guy is the star of the football team. He doesn’t need a fake girlfriend, he could get any chick on that campus he wants.”

      The “non-cynical” answer didn’t hold water for me after Te’o perpetrated the hoax.

      My alternative to the “gay theory” is that Te’o has a legitimate mental disorder. Of right now, that is all speculation…

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  3. Chris Ross
    January 20, 2013

    I think the dumb jock angle also doesn’t work as well because he is at Notre Dame, where you actually need some level of intelligence to play sports there. I completely agree the gay angle is a big possibility. I was talking with my Dad about this and I tweeted out a really good summary of the story from a former editor at Deadspin, who just so happens to be gay.

    Personally, I feel as though Te’o probably became complicit in this hoax early on. Either that, or he was a part of the hoax from the very start and it simply got way too far out of hand for him to ever come out and speak the truth. I also think it is a possibility that killing her off on the weekend that his grandma died may have been a convenient way for him to convey real emotion.

    There’s so many parts of this story that don’t match up and I wish ESPN actually could have forced the tough questions on him. There are so many things that don’t connect and that are still unanswered. The gay angle is something that is quite possible and fits into the story, but you’d think there was an easier way to dispel that, than having a fake girlfriend in this manner.

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  4. Patrick Young
    January 21, 2013

    Whatever his reason, he somehow felt whatever benefit he would get from having a dead girlfriend would outweigh the consequences. I knew guys in the Navy that used the “Dear John letter from home” angle to pick up chicks from the bar. They would feign vulnerability and distress from pretending to get dumped so that women would take pity on them and throw some pity sex. But I don’t know ANYONE who would have gone so far as to claim their girlfriend died just for sex.

    Besides, he was captain of the most important football team in the state not named the Bears. He could pretty much get anyone on campus he wanted by just pointing. And that includes most of the nuns, too.

    It doesn’t help him play football, or make money doing so. Anyone who has followed football over the last two decades knows that winning the Heisman doesn’t help your draft status. Not REALLY. Teams are more concerned with the combine results and interviews than popularity contest results.

    I suppose it might help with endorsements. But how many Heisman trophy winners do you see on TV at halftime?

    I’m still wondering what he thought he would gain by all of this. Which brings me back to the idea that it might have nothing to do with football. I also served with a few sailors that had “wives” and “girlfriends” whose pictures came with the picture frame.

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  5. sportsattitudes
    January 21, 2013

    For me, even more stunning than hearing about all this nonsense was Notre Dame loudly proclaiming they are 100 % behind their innocent student-athlete. Obviously, they don’t know what the heck really happened or what it all means yet either…and they certainly didn’t seem to be in a hurry to talk about any of it until the Deadspin story broke…even after knowing about it for quite some time. They didn’t feel compelled to get out ahead of the story but once someone else went public they raced to the podium to say T’eo was duped and they deferred to the “family” as to how they wanted to handle the situation. How convenient to go that road. Well if that was the case, why say anything after the story broke? Claim student privacy at best. Notre Dame haters are already living the dream about this dream-girl scenario…but I too agree that the best “news” (for them) may still be en route. Stand by.

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  6. I have a few ex-girlfriends that I wish didn’t exist.

    Here’s the thing, man. If he is gay, it would have been far more admirable for him to just come out and say it.

    Of course, I’m pretty sure that would have affected his draft status more than concocting some dead girlfriend scam.

    I mean, it’s not like he’s the first under-aged Catholic kid to have taken it from behind.

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    • J-Dub
      January 22, 2013

      For a brief moment, I thought you were taking the high road, but that last sentence brought me right back to Humphery-land.

      Like

  7. itwoeightyfive
    January 23, 2013

    In relation to your questions:

    1. I think Te’o being a Hawaiian Mormon at a Catholic school probably had something to do with it. I don’t imagine there are many Christian Polynesian beauty queens in South Bend (Or the world for that matter)

    2. From everything that’s come out so far, Te’o is either really dumb or really good at acting like he’s really dumb. I think he was duped for a while and then, once realizing he was duped, went along with it because of all the previously published stories and his riding the attention and acclaim that went with it. I don’t think he’s acting, and I think it was probably around early December as he said yesterday when he was duped.

    3. The mainstream media can’t publish a sap story about anything related to Notre Dame fast enough. After the success of Rudy, they know America will eat that shit up. There was no fact checking, just the need to get the story out as fast as possible. This led to deadspin being able to actually look into Te’o and the details without any risk at making themselves look bad.

    4.Te’o was the face of the best Notre Dame team in over two decades. It’s in the best interests of the university to defend him at all costs, similar to how Penn State defended Paterno until the bitter end. That, and the university had been holding this information for weeks before the story went public so they had everything they wanted to say in this press conference prepared ahead of time.

    5.He clearly isn’t one to back away from attention. Don’t kid yourself in thinking that the original story didn’t help propel him to a 2nd place finish in the Heisman. Assuming he was duped, the story now goes from a career booster to vehicle that makes him a punchline. And remember, if not for Deadspin, this revelation probably never comes out. The mainstream media (ESPN, SI) would have been too busy with Lance Armstrong or whatever the next scandal was before actually checking the validity of their own stories.

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  8. Ryan Meehan
    January 25, 2013

    Although I don’t want to believe the “gay” thing, the more and more I read about it the more and more I think that is the case.

    The Couric interview was interesting because the voicemail leaves us with the whole “sounds like a girl” thing to develop into something much bigger, that of which we haven’t heard because the people who are really behind it haven’t gotten into a studio to iron that part out yet.

    Long story short, what a goddamn mess…

    Meehan

    Like

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