Think people. Think!
If this fake girlfriend story involving Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman Trophy finalist Mante Te'o was a cruel hoax as both he and the university claim (but we doubt) what was his/her/their motivation?
First off though, I think the Academy Awards should consider a late entry into the Male Actor of the Year award after we watched the press conference performance yesterday by ND athletic director Jack "Trust Me" Swarbrick. Especially the part where he nearly cries (wait, give me a moment this is so touching) before he says the greatest tragedy in this incident is that Manti won't be able to trust again. Oh, please! (watch full video below) If you ever doubted that Notre Dame would put football above anything else--including the truth--you won't after watching this performance. Either this guy is a bigger fool than Te'o or he's putting on the greatest performance since Marlon Brando in a Streetcar Named Desire.
Okay, back to the hoaxer's motivation . . .
So, you're an online scamp, a trickster who targets an up-and-coming college football star named Manti Te'o. You pretend to be a pretty girl, create a fake Twitter account and maybe a Facebook page, steal some pictures, and you start pursuing him. You make a connection and BAMM he's hooked . . . but this isn't 1999 and old days of the Internet. Anyone with an ounce of brains (has anyone in the mainstream media checked on Te'o's grades at Notre Dame?) would be able to do some checking to see if someone named Lennay Marie Kekua really existed. (Ask any 10-year-old how to do it if you don't know yourself.) Even if Te'o was too busy to do it himself, ND must have hundreds, if not thousands of slaves a the school would could do it for him . . . just like writing his term papers (a joke!). No one is watching out for one of the biggest names in college football in 2012?
And while we're at it, where was Notre Dame this season as this bizarre and complicated story broke? This was a once in a generation team with a shot at the national title with a once in a generation Heisman Trophy candidate. Te'o is ND's product, it's meal ticket, and no one bothers to keep an eye on the guy or have an investigator do a little checking on this "too good to be true" story? Again, that strains the school's credibility when it can't--or won't--watch out for its biggest star. That's just now how things go in today's big time college athletics (coaches and ADs at other schools are having a good laugh at ND's expense this morning.)
Back to the hoaxer: so Te'o is hooked, you have texts and tweets enough to prove your case to any sleazy tabloid, or website like BadJocks, and you . . . kill yourself off? There are thousands of Nigerians at this point yelling "No, No, No!" Or maybe the hoaxer's motivation was to inspire Te'o (beyond the whole dead grandma part) to play so well that he would lead the Irish to the national championship game and become a Heisman Trophy finalist. Brilliant!
No wait, that makes no sense.What's in it for you as a scammer or hoaxer? Were you betting on ND games? That seems like quite a stretch. Were you going to blackmail him at some point for money? Maybe . . . but why not get it NOW from Notre Dame's deep pockets.
Were you just being cruel? If so, why call Te'o in December (as AD Swarbrick) claims from a KNOWN phone number and tell him that you were alive? At that point you got away with the scam: it would be like the guys in The Sting going back to tell mobster Doyle Lonigan it was all in fun. What, you finally felt guilty about helping him get national attention and lead the team to the championship?
Doesn't Te'o or anyone at Notre Dame realize that phone numbers can be tracked down and--surprise!--the identity of the hoaxer would be revealed, possibly to be beaten to a pulp by hired ND goons? Turn that number over to any teenager and he'd have you a name, address, and picture of the perp in about 15 minutes. An yet, both Te'o and ND talk about the hoaxer as if they are still unknown, still out there praying on some other poor soul.
So tell me, dear readers, what is the hoaxer's motivation in all this? If we know that, then we can let Manti Te'o off the hook. If not, it looks more and more like he was in on it to either cover up something in his personal life or gain additional notoriety. And then boys and girls, it turns out WE are the victims on all this.
And finally, if it is true that Swarbrick was told about the fake girlfriend back in December, shouldn't that have broken the story? Isn't that what a good PR firm would recommend? Get out AHEAD of the story, instead of waiting for it to crash down on your like a tsunami?
Again: look at the potential motivation of a hoaxer, Te'o and/or Notre Dame? Who has the most to gain or lose in this case?
Your comments welcome below.