Sunday, January 20, 2013

Three Questions People Should Stop Asking about The Manti Te'o Deadspin Story

Deadspin's Manti Te'o story by Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey is closing in on 4 million hits as of today. It inspired plenty of questions, and few answers. But a few of the questions being asked have obvious answers. Here's three that I think we can stop asking:

1) Good story, Deadspin, but didn't they just get lucky?
Honestly, I was a little disappointed that no sports blogs seemed to play significant roles in breaking the Jerry Sandusky story or the Steubenville football rape cover-up story. Sports blogs like Deadspin are perfectly positioned to uncover stories of college-town corruption and cover-up. College and high school students feel more comfortable going to blogs with such stories. And local media in such towns is often too closely tied to the team to break the story. In fact, and apologies for sounding like a jerk, I think sports blogs should be able to write stories like this a lot more often. Given a properly honed tip-generating process and visibility/rewards for tippers, why not?

2) Why didn't Notre Dame investigate whether Te'o was in on the hoax?
The investigation sounds rather laughable now. Notre Dame did not put much effort into the investigation, right? But I'm sure the original purpose of the investigation was merely to find out if Lennay Kekua was real or not. Once they figured out she was fake, they thought the story was over. Also, remember, Manti Te'o smartly went to them first. Any factual slip-ups he made could be covered over by him saying "I was just embarrassed and made things up." There are a lot of problems with Notre Dame's reaction to this, but I'm not so sure this question addresses the biggest problem.

3) How could Ronaiah find a woman to help deceive Manti Te'o on the phone for so many hours?
No appeal to talking to a high-status, beautiful person for hours on the phone each night? If Ronaiah could con Manti in the first place, I'm sure he could talk one impressionable woman into chatting with Manti.

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