In the midst of Louisville’s 85-63, Final Four clinching victory over the Duke Blue Devils on Sunday, Cardinal sophomore Kevin Ware suffered quite possibly the most gruesome leg injury in the history of competitive sports.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Now that the Manti Te’o saga is finally playing itself out and the true facts of the matter are starting to emerge, it’s (hopefully) time to put this story to bed.
This weird, twisted narrative enthralled the public for nearly two weeks, but a greater good can come out of all of this beyond exposing the sick, demented people who ‘catfish’ others.
Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated wrote a fantastic and eye-opening piece on how the Te’o hoax will alter the landscape of sportswriting for years to come.
In the story Layden not only questions the matter of the Te’o story, but he also questions his own work – examining past stories and wondering if he too fell under the guise of deception that Te’o executed so perfectly in telling his “story”
In recent days I began looking back — very randomly — through some of my own work.
In a 2004 story I wrote about Villanova’s NCAA basketball victory over Georgetown 19 years earlier, there is a dense paragraph about Gary McLain, Villanova’s point guard in that game. The paragraph contains 15 facts about McLain, who had not been interviewed by anybody for many years. Of those 15, many were confirmable and confirmed — that McLain “works for a company that places doctors in temporary positions,” and that his daughter was 11 years old. Other facts were more slippery — “He says he has lapsed into drug and alcohol uses “a couple of times,” and that he is currently not using — and almost impossible to nail down solidly. (The qualifier “He says,” is a great and useful crutch in these situations, as in “The quarterback says he has a 3.79 GPA.” But I can’t help but wonder if the reader flies over the qualifier and accepts the information as fact.).
In a 2011 feature on Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, I wrote that Rodgers “took his 1,310 SAT to Butte [college],” because Rodgers told me he scored 1,310 on the SAT. I never saw Rodgers’s test results; it seems unlikely he still has them. I was confident that Rodgers was telling the truth, but the reality is that I can’t know for sure. Is that detail necessary to establish that a clearly smart guy is quantifiably smart?
Even an award-winning journalist like Layden, who has the respect of his his peers and his audience, can’t help but wonder if he was led to believe one thing, when in fact it wasn’t the exact truth.
This doesn’t just apply strictly to sports either.
The trust a journalist puts in those they interview has to be complete, or else stories would never get finished due to endless fact-checking. But at the same time, one must apply due diligence and make sure their story is 100% accurate.
Otherwise, all the story does then is perpetuate a lie.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – According to an explosive report by the website Deadspin.com, the girlfriend of Notre Dame linebacker, and Heisman Trophy runner-up, Mant Te’o did not exist.
Te’o, who claimed for months his girlfriend Lennay Kekua had died of leukemia, was either the victim of an elaborate hoax or part of a very elaborate lie. Trying to figure out which scenario actually occurred depends on who you’re willing to believe.
Te’o has not spoken on the matter yet, issuing a press release on Wednesday that said he was the victim of a hoax. Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbick, who spoke to the media less than four hours after the initial Deadspin report, backed Te’o’s comments as well, saying it was all part of an “elaborate hoax”.
Where it gets fishy is in the specific details that Te’o fed the media relative to his relationship with Kekua.
In their press releases, both Te’o and Swarbick were adamant the relationship was strictly and online affair in which there was no contact, just phone conversations, tweets and e-mails.
Yet, in an interview with Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated, Te’o states he actually met Kekua in person:
“We met just, ummmm, just she knew my cousin. And kind of saw me there so. Just kind of regular.”
Moreover, Te’o’s father Brian said Kekua traveled to Hawaii to visit Manti:
“They started out as just friends. Every once in a while, she would travel to Hawaii, and that happened to be the time Manti was home, so he would meet with her there. But within the last year, they became a couple.”
Furthermore, Te’o who described Kekua in such ways as this…
“Lennay was so special. Her relationship with the heavenly father was so strong. She’s so humble, hard working. And her main thing was her family. Her family was everything to her. As long as she took care of her family. And as long as she knew that her relationship with our heavenly father was strong, she had faith that everyone would work out. With her it was just always loving God and her family. I was just blessed to be part of that.”
…was unable to remember what year she graduated from college, as well as what she was studying:
“She graduated in 2011 or 2010.”
“Her major was in English and something. I’ll double check.”
All in all the story still has much to be told. Te’o must speak on the matter soon as to avoid further embarrassment, as well avoiding the huge public relations hit that could affect his NFL draft status in April. To be continued…