Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MANTI TE'O AND THE 'IMMACULATE DECEPTION'


Freaky. Bizarre. Beyond comprehension. The Manti Te'o scandal has been all
those things and just seems to be getting crazier by the day. When I go through
the checkout line at the supermarket, I'm expecting to see a headline of the National
Enquirer that reads, TE'O TAKES RIDE IN UFO! LINEBACKER CLAIMS
LOU HOLTZ IS AN ALIEN.

On Thursday, Te'o is going to get grilled by Katie Couric in his first interview on
camera since the scandal broke. Last week, for some unknown reason, Te'o
gave Jeremy Schaap of ESPN an exclusive sit-down, but wouldn't allow any
cameras to record the session. It had to be the first time in broadcast history a
famous athlete didn't want to be shown on television, but just heard. Who does
that? Only Manti Te'o.


Te'o must've been afraid that a body language expert hired by a network would
read into his shifty eyes and squirrel-like movements in his chair and call
him a liar. I won't be surprised if Te'o tells Couric his dead girlfriend that
he never met and doesn't exist, is seven months pregnant with his child. Can
we put anything past Te'o at this point? The guy is starting to make Lindsay
Lohan look like a picture of great mental health.

Te'o plays football like a man possessed. It's pretty clear now, that he is still
just a kid who might be a little obsessed. On Wednesday, phone records obtained
by ESPN revealed that Te'o talked with his imaginary girlfriend  more than 1,000
times from May through December. The calls totaled 500 hours. 500 hours?!
Are you kidding me?! In this day and age of text, Twitter, e-mail, and Facebook
nobody talks to family members, much less people they've never met, for more
than five minutes. 500 hours!? That's insane!


This entire hoax has been the mother of all circuses. It makes the one under
the New York Jets tent with Rex Ryan as the ringmaster, look like a puppet show
for elementary school kids. Stephen King, James Patterson, Quitin Tarantino,
and Steven Spielberg could rack their brains together and still not be able to come
up with a story that's as bizarre as this one.

Ronaiah Tuisosopo, the master and creator of this hoax, must either be a diabolical
genuis or just trippin' on Tarantino's LSD. This story is just so mind-boggling, it's
scary. All-American linebacker at the most storied football program in the country gets
reeled in by some imaginary girlfriend, who gets critically injured in a car accident
and dies tragically from leukemia. This entire charade goes on, depending on who
you believe, for at least four months and possibly four years.


I'm nominating Tuisosopo for an Academy award in the category of best picture.
The envelope, please....

As the key figure in this elaborate hoax, Te'o is either incredibly naive or just
not the sharpest tool in the shed. For crying out loud. Do you think Johnny Football
is going on-line to score a date, talks to a person for 500 hours, never meets her,
but  then calls her his "girlfriend"?

Mark Twain once said that truth is often stranger than fiction, but that was long
before this hoax was hatched. Can only imagine how Twain would tag this Te'o
tragedy. Many of us who saw the demise of Michael Vick, the first edition, never
thought we'd see something that would top his dog killing scandal. Then came Tiger
Woods, then came Penn State, and then came Lance Armstrong. Now, we have
the Te'o travesty.

Seriously, is there another scandal out there that's yet to be uncovered that can
top the hoax involving Manti Te'o? Don't think so, unless Skip Bayless reveals
that he's really Tim Tebow's secret lover.





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