Understanding the Manti Te’o Saga

Posted by Greg on Jan 21, 2013 in Sports |

The real tragedy –– or oversight ––– in the Manti Teo girlfriend hoax is that people are losing sight of what really happened here. A college student got mixed up in something online ––– whether complicit or victim ––– and let it get away from him. Whether this means he’s pathological, detached from reality or something far more sinister, the sad reality is, he really is just a kid. In his apology this weekend he wrote that he was afraid to admit to his father that the relationship was fake because he was worried his father would end it. Whether this is all a big hoot and the farthest thing from the truth, it reminds us that college football players really are just kids. While it’s easy to lose sight of this, given how much we glorify them on Saturdays and during the bowl post-season, these really are just youthful adolescents just beginning to enter their formative years.

Stumbles happen. Last summer, Heisman Trophy Johnny Manziel was sifting through the ashes of a drunken disorderly conduct arrest and proving to his friends, family and teammates he was a changed person. Te’o can do the same, but it won’t be easy.

Contrition and compassion are not easy to achieve, but America is a forgiving nation (i.e Bill Clinton, et al) and Te’o can rise above this. It’s just a matter of how quickly he walks into the path of manhood. And seeing that NFL combines are not too far away. He better start walking soon. It is only then that this sad turn of affairs will become a distant memory.

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