Note: I am writing what has so far been reported and what we know (as has been reported) to be fact.
On September 12th hours after Manti Te’o’s grandmother died, his girlfriend lost her battle with leukemia.
It is now being said that his girlfriend never existed. Reporters looking into the situation couldn’t find a record of her death or that she was ever a former student at Stanford (as people had led to believe). She was made up by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo who allegedly provided a picture of the woman, and some claim Te’o was in on the hoax for publicity. The picture provided is a real flesh and blood person who is being protected, but it is from her Facebook account.
Manti has come out and said the following:
“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,” Te’o said. “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.”
“It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother’s death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life.”
“I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.”
“In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was. Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I’m looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft.”
What. A. Mess. This is going to back fire big time on Te’o. Whether he was involved or not people will always speculate. People will always wonder and think… and wonder if he made all of this up to gain publicity. They will question his judgment and character and honesty. All we have to go on is what is in the media currently which is a bit of a he said he said situation.
You will all have to make that judgment for yourselves, but before you make that judgment I would like you to consider a couple of things. He’s human, he’s young, and he is in a situation and spotlight that most mature adults would have trouble handling. Regardless of this situation, he is still a phenomenal player who plays his heart out every game and leaves everything on the field. It’s easy to make judgments and criticisms when you’re looking in. And, it’s easy to say, “you should of” or “you shouldn’t have” when you aren’t in the moment.
Me? I’m going to take this situation at face value until I know more. I’m going to believe Te’o because up until now he hasn’t given me a reason to question his honesty.
You? You will have to decide, I only ask that you don’t let the media or ND haters make your decision for you.
The fact still remains that ND went 12-1 this season and that my readers is something to be proud of.