College Football: How Does the Deadspin Story Affect the Draft Status Of Manti Te’o?
“This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her. To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.”
That is just part of a statement released by Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te’o on January 16th 2013 after he found out that he was a victim of a hoax, in which his “girlfriend” Lennay Kekua, died of leukemia a few days after Manti’s grandmother Annette Santiago died.
Now I could summarize everything that happened, but Deadspin.com does such a good job of summarizing it, I suggest you read their report before you continue.
Now that you have read that incredible story, what does this mean for Manti Teo’s future? First, Notre Dame has made it clear; they are sticking by Manti Te’o. They were very vague during their press conference, saying plenty of times “this is Manti’s story to tell”.
If it’s true that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who Deadspin alleged created the Kekua persona, was friends with Te’o and an unnamed friend of Tuiasosopo told Deadspin that Te’o was “in on it” this could hurt the draft status of Manti. If he knew about it, he is a bold face liar, especially giving postgame interviews about his girlfriend who had passed (video from Michigan State game September 15th).
Say if Te’o wasn’t “in on it” and found out on December 26th that it was a hoax and told Notre Dame that it was a hoax, why did he talk about her leading up to the BCS Championship game and after?
So will Manti Te’o be a first round pick? This hoax now questions the character of Te’o however; I felt Manti’s draft stock was dropping due to his poor showing in the National Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Still, I think people will feel sorry for him instead of accuse him of being in on it. With that said I think some will question his character, but he will still be a top 20 pick. The only way he drops is if he confesses that he knew about the hoax. Yes, Tuiasosopo’s friend believes Manti was in on it, but unless that comes out of Manti’s mouth (which I doubt), Manti will still be drafted in the first round. Let’s not forget, teams are now drafting players with arrest records in the first round. With that said, Te’o didn’t commit a crime. For now, he is a victim.
Until we hear Manti’s side of the story, let it be known that we’ve all been catfished, including Manti Te’o.
Photo Courtesy: Grantland.com