With revelation of the highly questionable narrative by football player Manti Te’o that he was “duped” into believing he had an online girlfriend, the nation has once again become aware of the questionable characters that inhabit Notre Dame’s storied halls.
For those unfamiliar, and I envy you, Manti was a prominent star who stood a good chance of winning the Heisman Trophy, American college football’s most prestigious award. What Manti needed to put him over the top was something that could not be achieved on the field: a good angle.
To this end, Te’o began to open up about himself with reporters. Before one important contest he revealed his grandmother had passed. And then tragically, almost operatically, his beloved girlfriend also died of an incurable disease within six hours. What effect would this have on noble Manti? Would he crumble, or would he “play through the pain”? To everyone’s misty-eyed amazement, Te’o stepped up and gave the game of his life.
Why not? He had already played the role of a lifetime.
Within weeks abundant evidence was discovered that Manti repeatedly lied about when and how—and even whether—he ever met his girlfriend. There was also undeniable proof that he and family members had been in contact with the purported hoax’s supposed perpetrator.
Still, it would probably be legally actionable to say Manti concocted this whole pathetic scenario to gin up interest of sportswriters before the Heisman award.
While Te’o was a good player he wasn’t great. Being from the sticks without a compelling “hook,” he would thus be unlikely to overcome a small media market.
Additionally, no one could possibly be expected to get away with saying something along the lines that Notre Dame administrators were at best willingly misled in this fairly obvious deception and at worst wholly culpable in their quest to sell ever more jerseys depicting the sort of leprechaun caricature which could get your teeth knocked out if you wore it in certain parts of Ireland.
These legalities aside, thus far Manti is sticking to his fairy tale, though how long he can maintain it remains to be seen.
Concerning its reputation overall, Notre Dame can thank mercy that few recall the case of Lizzy Seeburg. Miss Seeburg, a freshman, said two Notre Dame football players raped her. Of course, this is all alleged. She allegedly told friends, she allegedly told family members, she allegedly told counselors, she allegedly told administrators, and she allegedly told police.
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