5.Is Manti Te’o For Real or a Hoax?
The biggest news of the collegiate offseason has been about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. After an amazing college season that had the linebacker finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting, everything since that ceremony in New York City has been a disaster for this young man. First, we saw him and his team fall flat on their face in the National Championship Game. Then an internet site broke a story about Te’o being involved in a scheme where the woman he believed to be his girlfriend and reportedly dated for three years, and passed away the same week as his grandmother, never existed and was made up to promote the player. The story got even more legs when the school did it own investigation into the matter and determined Te’o did not make up the story, but was the victim of a recent internet sensation called “Catfishing.” Catfishing is where a person impersonates another person on the internet to trick someone into believing they are something they are really not. When ESPN got hold of the story, everything hit the fan. Suddenly Manti Te’o's leadership, and integrity was in question. It got so big that Te’o had to go on national television with Katie Couric to respond to the situation. This caused many people to re-evaluate Manti Te’o's draft status and projections.
This is where the story takes an unmitigated turn. Everyone now has an opinion on this guy and his character as a player. Some people has Te’o as a top 5 pick and after the Championship game and this situation some analysts have dropped him as low as 32 and out of the first round altogether. Some of that speculation was too high to begin with, and now his fall is being over dramatic. The recent narrative from sports analysts have gotten out of control, and for someone skeptical of the media to begin with, the story screams of media bias. An example of that bias is that After blowing the girlfriend story up a month ago and stating that it was a major concerns for NFL teams on ESPN, I saw 3 hours of coverage and 4 different shows, showcasing 4 different analysts just this past week all say the same thing. Every analysts used this line when asked about the combine and Te’o's draft status, “The girlfriend issue is not as big to teams as the play in the National Championship game.” While some of that statement may be true, when 4 different analysts on the same network say the exact same line, it screams to media critics like myself of talking points being handed to analysts for some unknown reason.
The truth of the matter is that this could e the best or worst thing for Manti Te’o this week. Te’o will have every eye on him at the Combine this week. If he performs well, all the attention on him will make people recognize him for his talents. However, if he fails to impress, all the eyes will be on him as well. It is a double edged sword, but Te’o's performance in Indianapolis will be a major point of emphasis this weekend.