By now, the world knows that Pinocchio is more honest than Notre Dame star linebacker and Heisman runner-up Manti Te’o. Houdini himself couldn’t keep up with the ever changing tales told by Te’o. With his televised interview with Sarah Palin slayer, Katie Couric set to air Thursday, Te’o is making headlines yet again for admitting to lying about his fake dead girlfriend, the beautiful Lennay Kekua. But this is no time to massage a dead horse. Whether or not various people and news outlets would admit, Manti Te’o lies as easily as he breathes but what’s most troubling are what his lies reveal about the projected top NFL draft pick.
Having an imaginary girlfriend is not the problem. As a child I had an imaginary dog I walked before and after school. When you’re a kid, having an imaginary friend is just something you and that friend share. You didn’t try to pass that friend off to the world. I knew no one else could see Fitzwater but me. Let this be a caution to the team that will draft the talented linebacker. Having a ‘relationship” for more than three years with a woman you’ve never met, even calling her the love of your life; proclaiming your pain over her death even after you admittedly learned the girlfriend wasn’t real; shedding tears for her even after you knew she was a figment of someone’s (or your) imagination, says more about Te’o than his alleged conspirator, who I believe Te’o knows more than he’s admitting. Shocking, I know. What this Te’o tale reveals is a troubled man. There’s something going on with this 21 year old that’s a bit off. He’s not as gullible, naive or as trusting as he’s made us to believe, and if he is, then this is even more troubling. He clearly loved the sympathy, the attention, outpouring of affection that his tale generated for him and his family.
Te’o lied to easily and so often; it’s scary. Most of the country are just hearing about Te’o’s fake inspirational tale. For us, the college football watching community, we’ve been forced-spoon fed Te’o’s story for months. Every time Notre Dame played, there was the Manti Te’o’s tale of strength in the face of extreme loss segments and commentaries. I don’t know if he lied so much that he started to believe his own lies or that ESPN told the tale so often that Te’o himself started to believe it. Either way, I hope the day after Te’o signs his NFL check, he sits on a therapist’s couch. Clearly, he has a problem.