Tuesday Teabag, January 22, 2013 – Manti Te’o and Notre Dame

What a crazy week.  Once again, there was fight to be this week’s Tuesday Teabag.  Honorable mention goes to Tom Brady and his bitch kick.  Do you realize it’s been 8 years since the Patriots won the Super Bowl?  #thedynastyisdead. 

No friends, this Tuesday Teabag goes to none other than Manti Te’o and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  For much of the past six days, The Machine has been completely transfixed by the Manti Te’o story.  Was he in on it?  When did he know?  What the fuck is catfishing?  Is there such thing as a Hawaiian Mormon?  So many questions, so little time.  Let’s get right into it.

First, much props to Deadspin for uncovering this nugget of crazy.  If you haven’t read the Deadspin article, do it now.  Those dudes are always all over the stories we need to know (nice work on the Brett Favre junk story, btw).

In some way or another, you’ve all heard and/or read the story by now:  Manti Te’o, star LB for Notre Dame who finished second in the Heisman voting, was in a “relationship” with Lennay Kekua since 2009.  Then, in September, 2012, just after his grandmother dies, his girlfriend dies as well, from leukemia, after recovering from a car accident.  This double-whammy of personal tragedy elevates Manti to the national spotlight (oh how we love watching people play sports through personal problems).  The media (whores) seize on this story, and Manti’s instantly on the cover of Sports Illustrated (note: just because you write about sports doesn’t mean you don’t have to fact check) and he becomes a household name.

There was only one tiny problem:  Lennay did not exist.  The whole relationship was a sham.  Depending on who you believe, Manti was either in on the hoax or was the victim of a cruel joke.  It’s been rumored that a friend of Manti, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, was the mastermind behind the hoax.  But why and to what gain?  Just messing with a naïve meathead?  And where is Ronaiah?  And then, you have Reagan Mauia of the Arizona Cardinals saying she’s real?  Who the hell is this guy? 

Ok, where do we begin?  First, you’re not in a relationship if you haven’t banged, let alone seen your partner.  Second, Manti…you’re not only a Division I athlete, you’re the starting middle linebacker for the most storied college football program in the country.  You don’t need the internet to get laid (leave that to the losers that paint your helmet every week).  Third, how could you possibly be that dumb where, for three years, you thought you were in a relationship yet never met the person, and, whenever you tried, you were rebuffed?  How many times did you fall for the “my facetime isn’t working” line?  That didn’t clue you in that maybe, just maybe, you’re sexting with a trucker? 

Then, as if things couldn’t get weirder, you pull out (something you never did with Lennay) of the Senior Bowl and become a recluse.  Then, perhaps under the urging of your PR firm, you agree to do an interview but refuse to be on camera.  Thus, we have to form our opinion of whether you’re telling the truth on how Jeremy Schaap formed his.  Yes, this Jeremy Schaap.  No thank you, that did nothing to satisfy us.  We need to see you with our own eyes.

Ok, says PR Team, problem solved.  Manti’s agreed to do an interview, on camera, with hard-hitting award journalist Katie Couric.  That would appear to comply with what we want, but then The Machine’s Research Department uncovered this nugget:  Manti and Katie are represented by the same PR firm.  Do you honestly think they’re going to put Manti in harm’s way by having an objective interview?  Of course not.  This interview will be completely pre-rehearsed, pre-recorded, edited, and framed to make Manti the victim.  Look, we get that that’s the job of a good PR Team.  They need to work double-time to keep you in the first round of the draft.  But dammit, we didn’t waste the better part of five straight working days to not get the truth.  The Machine wants the truth.  The Machine needs the truth.  Sadly, The Machine doesn’t think we’ll ever know the real story.

Unless he scores a 0 on the Wonderlic, The Machine finds it hard to believe that he didn’t know.  Maybe he didn’t help create it, but he certainly didn’t go to any lengths to correct people after he realized what was up.  And what’s with catfishing?  Is it a real thing?  Is it this generation’s version of phony phone calls?  This story, if nothing else, has helped The Machine (comfortably in his 30s) realize that he has more in common with people in their 40s then people in their 20s.  Shit…

And why does Notre Dame get lumped in with this Teabag, you ask?  Well, within minutes of learning of this alleged hoax, the Fighting Irish embark on their own investigation, the results of which they conclude that Manti was 100% not a part of this hoax.  However, we come to find out that their “investigation” was paper thin.  They didn’t interview Manti, his family, or Ronaiah.  But yet, they are 100% certain that their meal ticket…err, student athlete, wasn’t involved.  You get the sense that they were more concerned about preserving the legacy of Notre Dame than helping to vindicate Manti.  If only they would act so swiftly when there’s a real dead girl.  Their handling of this situation, and hand-washing of the Lizzy Seeberg story, is shameful. 

Anyway, Manti, here’s some advice from The Machine:  Get your shit together.  This story isn’t going to hurt you as much as your performance in the National Championship Game will.  Your Combine results are more important than your sit down with Katie.  Don’t forget that.  Also, DO NOT open that e-mail from the Nigerian Prince (hint: he’s not a real prince). 

Enjoy the Teabag.

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