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Deke Bellavia

Join Deke and the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert for live, local talk about the Saints, LSU, Pelicans and much more on "Sports Talk!" 

Weekdays 4-8pm

Twitter: @dekebigchief
Email: bigchief@wwl.com

Deke: Can the Manti Te'o story get any more bizarre?

As Bobby and I were doing our show, I glanced over at the second computer monitor in front of where the host sits in the studio.  (One monitor is used for call-screening, and the other is used to surf the web, write on the fly and print things while the other one is devoted to text messages that we can read.)

About 20 minutes into the show, I began to get texts asking me if I was going to address or talk about the Manti Te’o story that had just broken.  Deadspin is a website that usually breaks news that is on the borderline gossipy side, in my opinion.

Well this one has been bizarre from the start, and is gaining even more steam as we speak.  Now, if I were to sit here and try and explain this to you it would be like you watching one of those three hour movies that takes 12 hours to watch.  You get where I’m coming from?  So I’ll try and make things real short and sweet.  

Manti Te’o has quickly become one of the most famous players in the long proud tradition at Notre Dame.  And now he is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.  What has come into question is whether or not the runner-up for the 2012 Heisman Trophy knew about, or lied about, his supposedly dead girlfriend.

Some report that Te’o did had a relationship with a girl (Lennay Kekua,) and that the relationship was one of those Face Book/online deals where it’s all done by computer.  Some reports say that Te’o never met the young lady in person, while some say he did...and yet others say that someone with ties to Te’o and his family had something to do with this what is now being called hoax.

Anyway, the story about Manti Te’o was a heartfelt one, seemingly until now.  He was a star player on the nation’s #1 team that had led his Fighting Irish to the National Title Game for the first time since 1988.

He has lost family members and has overcome a lot.  The story about his girlfriend is that he drew strength and motivation in her supposed death.  Now, all of this is said to be fake.  Folks are questioning whether or not Te’o was a victim of online fraud, or if he actually knew of this and he had something to do with it.

The story went that the young lady that Te’o was supposedly in a relationship with, Lennay Kekua, died of leukemia and he wanted to play for her in dealing with her death.  But according to several media outlets, there is no record of a death certificate.

Te’o told Notre Dame Officials the day after Christmas 2012 that his girlfriend did not exist and he was a victim of an internet hoax.  And on Wednesday January 16, Notre Dame made it official in backing up their prized star, as Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick and Notre Dame Officials backed up Te’o and his story of being a victim.

Confused yet?  Me to!  So now all the questions are being asked.  And the questions are getting more and more in -depth.  For example, how could the young man not know that this was fake?  Did he talk to his girlfriends' parents after he found out she had died in an accident?  Who told Te’o that the young lady passed away?

Why has no one said anything about this now?  It’s obvious that Notre Dame wanted to keep this close to the vest until after the Irish played in the National Title Game, since they learned about the alleged fraud December 26, 2012.

I’m telling you folks, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a damn duck!  Quack-quack-quack!  Something is not being told here.  And now more details are surfacing about how Notre Dame hired a private investigator to get to the bottom of the story and what the findings were.

The Notre Dame side reports that this was a full-blown hoax and that Manti Te’o was a victim.  On the flip side, Deadspin is reporting that a person with ties to Te’o and his family purported a Twitter Account and that Te’o himself is a part of what Deadpsin calls a publicity stunt.

OK, the truth is this, people:  If Te’o is a victim, then the young man has already suffered plenty, and he has already seen his stock in the upcoming NFL Draft drop big time.  Not only by this story, but his play in the National Title Game as well is hurting his professional future.  I mean, if you were a GM or a coach, would you want this story and all the media attention around it in your locker room?  Hell no, I say.

And if Te’o had any knowledge of this and he was involved then he should be punished before he enters the NFL, much the same as Ohio State QB Terrell Pryor was for his involvement in the scandal at OSU a few years back.

I caution all of you to hold judgment and not go with the knee-jerk reaction.  If Sports Illustrated, the New York Times. L.A. Times, and Chicago Tribune can be fooled, couldn't it be possible for one of us to be taken advantage of also?  All of those outlets did stories on Te'o's Girlfriend.  

The Chicago Tribune published 15 articles in the past four months alone talking about Te'o's girlfriend and how he was dealing with her death.  We are talking about some of the most lucrative and prestigious media outlets in the world that have bottomless budgets that can uncover scandals as big as Watergate and the Penn State Scandal.  Just think about, it is all I'm suggesting to you, and then you can come up with your own conclusion.

This story will only get bigger, and if there is a cover-up by the most credible and most well-known university in the history of universities, we are possibly seeing the initial stages of what could become a story/scandal the size of the one that took place at Penn State.

Photo by Neon Tommy, used via Creative Commons License with attribution.

Tags :  
Topics : Human Interest
Social :
People : Jack SwarbrickLennay Kekua

01/17/2013 12:59PM
Deke: Can the Manti Te’o story get any more bizarre?
Please Enter Your Comments Below
01/17/2013 10:50PM
how funny! the media finally got played and they are pissed about it! They can dish it out but can't take it! Good deal, I hope for many more misleads in the future!! POWER TO TEA!
01/18/2013 8:02AM
When conspiracy theories approach reality.
When Manti Te'o, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, led the Fighting Irish defense to the BCS Championship Game, I could not help wonder back to the girlfriend and grandmother both dying of the same type of cancer on the same day. I reviewed in my mind the controversial calls in the Stanford and Pittsburgh games by the refs that contributed to Notre Dames victory. A number of Heisman voters voted for Te’o because of how he handled the adversities of two deaths and his leadership ability. Notre Dame knew about the hoax on December 26, 2012. Notre Dame waited, way after the National Championship Game to come clean. It took someone breaking the story for Notre Dame to address the story. I have been accused of being a conspiracy theorist on this board. I suspected that something was not right with the media, the Te’o story, the officiating, and even the Heisman voting. Anyone that points out inconsistencies is a conspiracy theorist crazy person. Well, hello, it appears that here is one live conspiracy theory come to life. The Falcons finished the 2012 season with 55 penalties for 415 yards. That is an average of 3.4 penalties a game. That is an average of 25.9 penalty yards a game. As a contrast, the Ravens have a league high 1,127 penalty yards and 121 penalties called against them. The Falcons have set a record for being the least penalized team in NFL history. It should be noted that the President and CEO of the Falcons is Rich McKay. McKay is also the Chairman of the Competition Committee. This committee is responsible for rule changes and the implementation and interpretation of the rules that the NFL officials call each NFL game. This committee reviews the footage and calls on the field of play by each NFL referee. The NFL officials performance can come into question by this committee. It is a conflict of interest for the Atlanta Falcons to have their team President and CEO as the Chairman of the Competition Committee in the NFL. It is no coincidence that the Falcons are the least penalized team. It is human nature, not to want to irritate the person who has a say in your performance evaluation. The NFL should never place a team President and CEO in such a position that impacts officiating on the field of play.
01/18/2013 10:52AM
It is unbelievable
that so much time has been wasted talking about this nothing story. All day yesterday on Fox News and Fox radio every program gave way too much time to this story. While Barack Obama is riding roughshod over the Constitution people are spending an entireday discussing a foot ball player?
01/19/2013 1:57PM
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