Ah, to live the life of a college stud, where your Heisman-like play on the gridiron and the potential millions in soon-to-be NFL money almost assure you of never going home from the bar alone, if you know what I mean.
And the grocery store, the library, the cleaners, church…
Manti Te’o, he of online girlfriend hoax infamy, had a pretty tough week, to put it lightly. You know you have it bad when sports talk radio shows ask listeners to choose who they’d rather be, you or Lance Armstrong. Lance has pretty much ego-tripped his way into another stratosphere with that debacle of a two-part Oprah interview in which C-3PO, a robot, showed more emotion. Te’o could be in for years of abuse from football fans all over the country – and that’s if he’s lucky enough to have not participated in the hoax of having a fake girlfriend.
The gym, the deli, the mall, the mailbox…
Make fun of Manti all you want; I know people who have had to break up with real girlfriends. Real girlfriends shed real tears, call you really bad names and make you feel like a real piece of crap. And that’s an amicable break-up. All Te’o had to do was hit the “delete” key. He doesn’t have to come up with the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” angle or the “I just feel like you’re not there when I need you.” Oh, wait…
And I want to believe that he was completely duped while a friend and two other accomplices allegedly carried out one of the most elaborate hoaxes since someone told Michael Jordan he could play baseball or that Carl Lewis could sing. I want to believe that Te’o is a naïve and innocent kid that fell in love with the idea of falling in love, so much so that even after he found out about the hoax he still wanted to believe it. But I feel that there’s more to come in this made-for-television tale of collegiate cyber romance. There’s still the NFL draft, where this bizarre story is sure to resurface.
One theory vocalized by a large number of sports talk listeners was that this hoax, if Te’o was really in on it, was an elaborate cover-up of his sexual identity. Here you have a top-rated pro prospect from one of the more prestigious and storied football programs in the country in Notre Dame. If the theory was true and Te’o was gay, surely someone would have outed him at some point, especially with NFL teams doing elaborate background checks on any potential draft pick. A girlfriend hoax could have provided a terrific smoke screen – somewhere John Travolta and Tom Cruise should be taking serious notes – and disrupted any and all potential rumors.
How cool would it be, seriously, if Manti Te’o was gay, that he broke new ground and just came out before the NFL draft at the start of his pro career rather than those athletes who come out after they’ve played. Would that not be a serious milestone in the history of our country, if not, all of mankind? For something that epic to occur the player would have to, well, come from one of the most prestigious and storied football programs ever, a player that finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting.
But it’s all just a theory.
No matter how the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend story unfolds – and for the record, I believe him – I think I’d still choose to be Te’o over Lance Armstrong. Te’o may not know what it’s like for a real girl to fake an orgasm or even a headache, but at least he showed the capacity to actually show that he has feelings. The next real woman he falls in love with is probably going to be a lucky woman.
Cyber Lance only reaffirmed what all of his friends said under oath several years ago: that he was a world-class narcissist perpetuating a lie.
And there was nothing fake about that.