The biggest news of the day on Wednesday wasn’t Chip Kelly doubling back to accept the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching job. Instead it focused on a college kid, who’s still growing into a man, and the fact that he is in the middle of a scandal involving a woman who never really existed.
Manti Te’o is under siege after news broke that his supposed girlfriend that died back on September 12, 2012 wasn’t actually real and that her whole existence had been a giant hoax. But while the shock of that settles in, the question has become whether or not Te’o was actively involved with the hoax or if he was the biggest victim of all of us.
Notre Dame held a press conference on Wednesday night where athletic director Jack Swarbrick addressed the media, taking questions about the scandal that has gripped the football world. If you missed it, Swarbrick did very little to help Te’o out when it came to convincing the world that he was innocent in all of this.
Swarbrick avoided directly answering some tough questions and backtracked on statements he had just made. The hour-long press conference was meant to clear the air when it came to Te’o and his involvement int he hoax, but Swarbrick has left people more confused than they already were — which isn’t a bad tactic I suppose.
The press conference we are waiting for is Te’o's.
At this point, people remain split when it comes to the verdict on Te’o. Some are crucifying him, saying he’s a con-man and that his story seems incredibly sketchy when all laid out in front of us. Others are backing Te’o and waiting for more evidence to come in. There are two pictures that can be painted here: one is of Te’o panicking now that he’s been caught in a sick hoax; and another of a simple-minded, kind-hearted giant who is getting pelted like Frankenstein when he really didn’t know any better.
Either way, Te’o reputation has been destroyed. Last week — even yesterday– he was the ferocious and inspirational leader of the 2012 Notre Dame Iris. Today, he’s either a con-man or someone who is much less intelligent than we all thought he was. One picture is horrifying, the other evokes a feeling of pity.
We didn’t learn much from the Jack Swarbrick press conference other than this whole hoax might have just gotten a lot thicker than we thought it already was. For the sake of humanity, let’s hope that Te’o is just a shy, simple guy who cares too much and got burned worse than we ever could have imagined.
Unfortunately, the situation is so wacky, that’s the best possible outcome here. Te’o is expected to tell his side of the story as soon as Thursday.