Later on today, Manti Te'o, the Notre Dame linebacker who was revealed to have a fake girlfriend in a wild, riveting story in Deadspin yesterday, is likely to take questions from the media, in what is certain to be the strangest press conference since Andrew Breitbart hijacked the microphone before Anthony Weiner's press conference back in 2011. (If Deadspin were like Breitbart, Tommy Craggs would leap in front of reporters today and scream at them to ask the REAL questions, man. Thank God Deadspin is not like Breitbart.) While Deadspin reported in its piece that a source was "80 percent sure" Te'o was in on the hoax, in the wake of a presser from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick last night, Te'o defenders are stepping forward, including some who claim evidence that people on Twitter were mocking Te'o for not knowing Lennay Kukua wasn't real two weeks ago.
The narrative is starting to get set: Te'o was the victim of an elaborate hoax. It is worth noting that, still, believing this requires far more faith in Manti Te'o than in logic, reason, and sentient thought. There is some word that Te'o is not going to give a press conference at all, that he'll "do a 1-on-1 interview with a single TV reporter," which makes sense for Te'o, though it's unlikely to get us much closer to understanding any of this. Rather than grab the microphone at a possibly imaginary press conference, we thought we'd go over some of the logical questions it'd make sense to ask Te'o today.
- When did this "relationship" actually start?
- Why did you tell reporters stories of how you had met each other?
- When your Dad told reporters how Kukua would visit you in Hawaii, was he lying, or was he just blindly reporting information you had told him?
- If so, why did you tell him that?
- Do you commonly have relationships with women you have not met?
- Why did you never go see her when she was so ill and/or recovering from a serious car accident?
- Your family told Notre Dame about the "hoax" on December 26. Why did you continue to go along with the story after that?
- Seriously, you never once thought to mention, in all the heartwarming stories you went along with over the last six months, that the girlfriend who was so inspiring and broke your heart was someone you had never actually met? Why did you go along with this so long?
- Is this why you played so poorly in the BCS Championship Game?
- Do you fear that if you are this gullible while playing a sport that does not pay you, that you will be perhaps the easiest mark in the history of easy marks once you're at last richly compensated for it?
- Isn't it weird that you're up here answering questions like this?
- Like, we're running you — a 22-year-old Mormon kid who has made millions of dollars for network executives and university presidents but has never received a dime for it himself — out there to face the music on all this stuff, like this story is really just about you being a jerk?
- Shouldn't we be tarring and feathering a compliant media who just went along with the narrative — created by you, or for you, no one knows yet — rather than acting as if you (or Ronaiah Tuiasosopo) somehow did all this and broadcasted it to the world all by your lonesome?
- Okay, we're definitely curious: How well do you know Tuiasosopo?
- Still: Isn't this a story about the mythmaking of sports, about the blind acceptance of faux-heartwarming stories for the sake of easy consumption; about how, the day after the bombshell, people within the world of sports are already climbing back into the "this was just a rogue Internet jerk, who would have thought to do a Nexis search to see if she were actually dead, or real" defensive crouch rather than take a hard look at themselves and the way they conduct their business?
- How do you think this will affect your draft status?
- Are you gonna go out there and just take it one game at a time?
- Thank you, Manti. You're a very brave person, and we're all such brave people for talking to you today.