Becka and Danielle discovered one morning last week in the NWLC kitchen over coffee and yogurt that they shared a sense of confusion over a major news story – Manti Te’o – and why his saga was dominating the news cycle, so, being members of the Communications team, they decided to hash it out the only way they knew how – by blogging about it.
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o on field in 2010 Photo Credit: Neon Tommy
Te’o’s a linebacker on the University of Notre Dame football team and had a pretty spectacular senior season, capped off with an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. He was nominated for the Heisman Trophy, and sports media spent a lot of time talking about Te’o’s on-field success while battling two losses: his grandmother and his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, who supposedly died within 48 hours of each other. His story was, obviously, extremely inspirational: Young man leads his team to championship game while dealing with great personal loss.
Becka: This had an inevitable book/movie deal written all over it. But there’s one problem: Kekua doesn’t exist. Sports blog Deadspin broke the news on January 16 and it feels like we’ve been hearing about this non-stop since! I heard about the news on Twitter first and then saw it reported as “Breaking News” on CNN and on the front page of the Washington Post. I’ve never been much of a sports fan, so the whole thing just baffles me – I don’t understand the fascination (and worship) of sports fans and their sports stars, but Danielle, I know you’re a major sports lover, so – what are your thoughts?
Danielle: As a sports fan, the coverage really frustrates me. The media blowup over this situation seems excessive. I really don’t care that much that Te’o was scammed or was in on some scam. If it was some sort of a point-shaving scam or something that actually had bearing on Notre Dame’s on-field play, fine. But part of this story is fake – so why has it been dominating headlines? Why was Te’o on Katie Couric’s show yesterday? Did we really need him to go on-air to hash out how he was fooled into believing he had an online girlfriend? Read more »