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Manti Te'o Hoax Is Officially the Dumbest Story in the History of Sports

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Manti Te'o Hoax Is Officially the Dumbest Story in the History of Sports
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

I tried to watch Katie Couric interview Manti Te'o about his imaginary girlfriend, but the dying braincells made it sound like someone was inside my skull, walking around on bubble wrap. So I decided to stop.

Now, I hear the clown who supposedly perpetrated the hoax is going to be interviewed by Dr. Phil. You don't even have to watch that travesty.

Mere awareness of the fact is enough to make your IQ flatline.

Here's what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt about this fiasco:

1. The story being told is not the truth, at least not all of it.

2. That doesn't matter because this whole story is idiotic to the point of making me physically angry.

3. Notre Dame's star linebacker is far, faaaaar from gay.

Beyond that, I don't know what the hell is going on and I don't care. The longer this story goes and the more people it pulls into the vortex, the dumber everyone looks.

Look at some of these stories: "Manti Te'o was talking to a man," "Face of Manti Te'o's girlfriend says Ronaiah Tuiasosopo confessed to hoax," "Manti Te'o has got goodness," "Report: Manti Te'o's dead girlfriend did not exist," and on and on. It's like an Onion story come to life.

Meanwhile, "journalists" keep lining up at the trough and each one has come away looking more foolish than the last.

Deadspin isn't exactly smelling like a rose, thanks to a heavy does of he-was-in-on-it innuendo contained in the story that started us down this road. Not to mention this little gem.

TV is tough...maybe not THIS tough, but it's not easy.

ESPN looks even worse.

The sports leader sat on the story initially, then came off as a cup-out beggar instead of the industry pacesetter by agreeing to an off-camera interview. I don't know what you'd call the parading around of Jeremy Schaap to "reflect" on the conversation afterwards, but it ain't flattering.

And then there's ol' Katie.


That wasn't journalism; it wasn't even an attempt to bleed additional details from the affair. It was a propaganda piece more akin to an actor talking about how brilliant his upcoming film is and just as self-serving.

Oh, really? It's the best work you've ever done? The director is a genius? Your costars are one-of-a-kind artists? The script left you speechless? Next, you're gonna tell me I should go buy a ticket for this thing.

For those of you who missed it, Couric and Te'o share the same publicist (via The LA Times).

But that's soft-selling the relationship, really, because the former Notre Dame linebacker hired this dude specifically to help manage the fallout from the hoax. Meanwhile, Mr. Publicist has a long-standing business relationship with Couric.

Translation: Neither individual is likely to ignore or otherwise contradict his advice. The man's goal is to make his clients look as good as possible so what do you think his advice would've been?

"Really hold Manti's feet to the flames. Make him squirm and let's get to the bottom of this!"

Nah, probably not.

On second thought, maybe the hoax hasn't been ALL bad...

If you want proof, look no further than the absurd question about Manti's sexuality.

There was absolutely no legitimate reason to ask that question. None. I understand "he's gay" is one of the popular conspiracy theories currently bandied about cyberspace to explain the farce. So what? A rumor does not have substance to it simply because some yahoo floats it and another yahoo repeats it.

Unless I missed something and we're all back in high school.

Furthermore, Te'o's response couldn't have sounded more rehearsed had he read it off a card. And what was with the immediate cut to the cute chick laughing in the audience? You're telling me that sequence wasn't carefully orchestrated?

To paraphrase the great Clay Davis, I don't think so.

This entire thing is now about damage control and the same guy gets paid to manage the images of the principle players? That's a bit like allowing one attorney to represent both the prosecution and the defense in the same trial.

Except that would have serious consequences and this is just very, very silly.

Speaking of which, it needs a better name than "The Manti Te'o Hoax." I vote for The Girl Who Lived, but I digress.

How can you not mock the charade?

What are we even talking about at this point?

There are two options: Either Manti Te'o is telling the truth or he's lying, but really, which is worse?

If he's telling the truth, he's suspiciously stupid for a student at a school that prides itself on rigid academic standards. He's also naive to the point of being a danger to himself and others.

How can you be a high-profile athlete at a top college in the 21st century and not be suspicious when repeated attempts to turn an Internet-only relationship into a real one fail?

If he's lying, he's a callous, deceitful egomaniac who took advantage of a reckless and irresponsible media, but that's not really a story, is it? Callousness, deceit, egomania and a slew of more serious character flaws seem to be par for the course in the NFL.

Shoot, with news surfacing that Gregg Williams is close to another job in the League, it seems the bar for employment in the NFL is an easily cleared "Don't nearly decapitate two people with a butcher knife or hire a hitman to kill your pregnant girlfriend."

You're telling me Te'o's indiscretions rate against these? I think not.

If Manti is lying, fine, he's not the guy the national media made him out to be, but the bigger story there is that the national media was such a compliant patsy. Consider that some of its members tried to dig up background info, failed and still ran with the story.

If you create a system that's lost sight of what is important, then how can you be surprised when those who must navigate that system follow your lead?

Of course, those conversations—why was a star student-athlete not better prepared to handle the situation and why did the media fail its duty so horrendously—are important to have regardless of what really happened in this particular case.

We already have enough information to know either is a distinct possible and both are significant problems that should be addressed. The continued interest is nothing more than celebrity-gawking, which is cool if that's your thing.

But it's not mine. Far from it.

Faaaaar from it.

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