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I still believe in Manti Te’o

Jan 19, 2013, 2:17 AM EDT

Notre Dame v Michigan State Getty Images

I still believe in Manti Te’o.

I’m not sure what that says about me. Certainly something different than yesterday, when the story had Te’o pegged as a co-conspirator in one of the strangest most depressing stories to come out of the sports world in a long, long time. Yet I can’t shake the fact that I believe in Te’o, enough to look past a story and timeline that has people quickly mixing up the heroes and villains.

But ever since Deadspin dropped one of the biggest bombs of the year  — and the mainstream media scampered to cover its tracks — Te’o has been in the crosshairs of not just sports fans, but Americans everywhere. The bizarre hoax has transfixed millions of people, and spurred almost as many conspiracy theories, with nearly all of them turning people against the Hawaiian linebacker with a story that turned out to be too good to be true.

Make no mistake, I’m waiting to hear from Te’o. And I’m hoping he comes as clean as possible. That means phone records, photos, and a more than candid presentation of the facts, however awkward, embarrassing or terrible they might make him feel or look.

But if this story does anything, it should force all of us to take a long, hard look in the mirror. Because there’s something terribly wrong with the reaction this story drew, and the almost universal vilification of a kid that’s stood for everything that’s right about sports.

If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, it hasn’t seen sports fans (or writers) yet. Because there’s no other way to explain how only 14 percent of Americans can think Te’o’s an innocent victim in this, with the rest of the country so quickly turning on the star linebacker, even before hearing his side of the story.

***

For all the incredible work Deadspin did in its initial reporting, it did no favors to Te’o, casting immediate skepticism on the All-American, including this dagger that all but served as the subtext needed to insinuate Te’o was in on it from the start.

A friend of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo told us he was “80 percent sure” that Manti Te’o was “in on it,” and that the two perpetrated Lennay Kekua’s death with publicity in mind. According to the friend, there were numerous photos of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and Te’o together on Tuiasosopo’s now-deleted Instagram account.

The sheer quantity of falsehoods about Manti’s relationship with Lennay makes that friend, and another relative of Ronaiah’s, believe Te’o had to know the truth. Mostly, though, the friend simply couldn’t believe that Te’o would be stupid enough—or Ronaiah Tuiasosopo clever enough—to sustain the relationship for nearly a year.

An anonymous friend of the villain that orchestrated the hoax is hardly on objective bystander. But that didn’t stop Deadspin from using the quote effectively, framing the story in its final paragraphs to cast Te’o as man that lived life like a man in disguise.

From there, only Notre Dame’s response advanced the story. Speaking candidly for almost an hour, athletic director Jack Swarbrick backed Te’o strongly, while also laying out the fact pattern that is now well established. Te’o allegedly received a call from the phone number he recognized as that belonging to Lennay Kekua on December 6th. A series of calls continued, with Te’o trying to find out if the voice on the phone belonged to the girlfriend he thought had died months earlier. In the midst of a whirlwind awards circuit that had Te’o zig-zagging across the country for 11 days, Te’o came to the sick realization that he had been conned.

“Manti was the perfect mark because he is a guy who is so willing to believe in others and so ready to help,” Swarbrick said. “As this hoax played out in a way that called upon those tendencies of Manti and roped him more and more into the trap.”

***

How could Te’o fall in love with a girl that doesn’t exist?

That’s a question worth asking. And one that Catfish star and documentarian Nev Schulman knows quite a bit about. His film, about a serious relationship with a fictional person, sparked an outbreak of “catfishing,” a practice where people set out to create a fake persona to pursue an online relationship, often times with malicious intent.

Schulman has seen his popularity explode recently, gaining over 20,000 new followers on Twitter in the 24 hours after Te’o’s story broke. Schulman talked about how someone like Te’o could fall so deeply into this relationship, with a person he’d never physically met.

“It seems very easy to look at a series of events and say, ‘Wow, look at how these things compiled together didn’t seem clear that this is somehow a hoax or fake,’” Schulman told USA Today. “But for people living this story and communicating on a day-to-day basis and receiving lots of information, much of which is insignificant – like, I’m painting my nails or I’m just walking my dog – all of those regular day-to-day stuff, they simply get mixed in with all of the dramatic red flag events. At the time, it doesn’t seem like such an unusual thing and then a couple weeks go by and nothing happens and then something else happens.

“It looks like whoever is behind all of this either followed Manti’s career closely or may have in fact known him because they had a way of missing him, that they had met and that perhaps they had been at certain events together. And I’m sure they used specific reference that they either found through social media, fan pages or Instagram feeds, to indicate that there was a real, physical closeness at times.”

As someone that’s witnessed the scene surrounding Te’o after football games, it’s very likely this was the entry point used to sink the hook into Te’o. The linebacker is often mobbed after games even away from South Bend — especially on West Coast trips where extended family is often present — giving ample opportunity for a guy like Tuiasosopo to build a plausible backstory. Te’o often times looks like a Mayor after a game, kissing babies and shaking hands, meeting family and strangers at the same time. And in the Polynesian culture, sometimes those things aren’t mutually exclusive.

It’s no surprise that Te’o’s relationship flourished on the internet. The internet has a high proliferation of dating sites aimed at the Mormon community. One popular dating has over 500,000 online profiles, a staggering number when you consider there’s only six million Mormons in the United States. As a college kid thousands of miles and five hours ahead of his home, tucked into a Midwestern town with a student body predominantly Catholic, where exactly did you expect Te’o to turn for a relationship?

***

Perhaps what made Te’o’s story explode so quickly was the conspiratorial nature of it all. Was he in on it? Did he help promote his story for his own gain? Was this all part of some master plan?

Manti Te’o has always believed in a master plan. But it started well before anyone had heard the name Lennay Kekua.

To know Te’o is to know a young man steadfast in his beliefs. Even before most of the college football watching country started to notice, Te’o was living life in accordance to his Heavenly Father. He has often talked about a message from above that helped him select Notre Dame on Signing Day. Dead set on attending USC and continuing the long line of Hawaiian and Polynesian greats, Te’o chose Notre Dame quite simply because God told him to go to South Bend.

That same faith based approach led him to bypassing his Mormon mission, an announcement he made after a long consultation with his family and the local bishop in South Bend.

“This was probably the biggest decision that I’ve had to face in my entire life. I knew the impact of my decision could have a positive influence on those who follow me and those who watch what I do,” Te’o said back in December 2009. I always want to have a positive influence on them. I just thought that I was sent to Notre Dame for a purpose and that is a purpose I have to devote to.”

Those sentiments were echoed when Te’o surprised many and decided to come back for his senior season, making the announcement even before he consulted with the NFL’s advisory board.

“This was a tough decision, and I found myself praying about it often,” Te’o said last December. “Ultimately, I really want to experience my senior year at Notre Dame. The happiest moments so far in my life have come when I am spending time with people I love. I wanted to spend another year with my teammates and the coaches on our team. I don’t think any sum of money can replace the memories I can create in my senior year.”

For the critics that accused Te’o of using this season as a platform to promote himself, Te’o has used these four years at Notre Dame to do that. But he’s done that by being a “humble servant,” embracing the quiet moments he’s spent doing community outreach just as much as he’s enjoyed any national attention. And Te’o has never been bashful about the pride he carried not just for himself, but for those back home on the islands of Hawaii.

“My main thing is to show the kids back home that we can step out of that bubble,” Te’o said. “Hawai’i is such a comfortable place to be, and you don’t want to leave. For us kids who grew up there, it’s definitely hard to leave. When you leave Hawai’i, it’s far, and so for us to leave that nest is definitely something that’s very difficult.”

That step away from the bubble and into the spotlight led to the situation Te’o finds himself in now. That openness led him to take in someone like Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a young man seemingly not all that different from Te’o. From a family strong of faith (his father runs a church in Southern California), and with a family name synonymous with football excellence, there’s little wonder Te’o extended his online friendship to a guy that he seemed to have so much in common with.

Yet we now know that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was the last person Te’o should trust. While Tuiasosopo is still in hiding and not speaking publicly, his friends have told ESPN that he’s confessed to the malicious stunt that’s gone on for years. He also seems prone to pathological lies. During an audition for NBC’s hit television series The Voice, Tuiasosopo engineered a similar story to the one he crafted for Te’o, telling producers that the Christian band he started got into a deadly car accident on their way to a performance. It wasn’t enough to land him a spot on the show.

On Friday, those close to Tuiasosopo came clean about their knowledge of his plot. After serving as anonymous sources for Deadspin, two witness spoke to ESPN’s Shelley Smith on the record, with one recanting the damning “80 percent” judgment that all but had people convinced Te’o was in on this from the start. That proclamation seemed especially confusing considering Tuiasosopo tried to pull the same scam on the witnesses own cousin.

“When I found out about the Samoan football player and his girlfriend, his Grandma died the same day, I was like, ‘Whoa this is crazy,’ I feel so bad for him, so I just looked him up,” J.R. Vaosa told ESPN. “I found out his girlfriend’s name was Lennay Kekua. And right when I read the name Lennay Kekua, I immediately thought of Ronaiah. Then I thought of my cousin. That this has to be the same person.”

Up until Vaosa and Celeste Tuioti-Mariner came forward, skepticism still carried the day. Reporters like CBS Sports’ Gregg Doyel were damned to be fooled again by Te’o.

“Nothing about this story has been comprehensible, or logical, and that extends to what happens next,” Doyel wrote. “I cannot comprehend Manti Te’o saying anything that could make me believe he was a victim.”

Even after Te’o’s initial statement confessed to the embarrassment of being duped by an elaborate hoax, there was nothing that’d change Doyel’s mind. In the middle of an already sensational senior season, it was suddenly far more plausible that Te’o concocted a tale about a fake dead girlfriend to boost his Q-rating than the simple fact that he fell in love with a girl tailor-made for him.

***

No matter the end of this story, Te’o will ultimately be branded for this incident for the rest of his life. No longer will he be remembered for his record-setting career and historic senior season that turned him into one of the most decorated players ever. The multiple national awards Te’o earned will be replaced by one that’ll never go on his mantel: Sucker of the Year.

Te’o is only now responding to the calls for comment. Spending two-plus hours with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, any explanation that comes from Te’o will likely only satisfy some of the people that spent the past two days making up their minds. But that didn’t keep Schaap from saying this about Te’o.

“I don’t know how many questions I asked, but he answered every one of them,” Schaap said. “He admitted to a couple of mistakes along the way.”

The biggest being the fact that he never went out of his way to explain to reporters that the girl that he had been talking to almost nightly since April was one that he had never met in person.

“I even knew that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn’t meet, and that people find out that this girl who died I was so invested in, and I didn’t meet her,” Schaap recounted Te’o saying late Friday night. “So he kind of tailored my stories to have people think that, yeah, he met her before she passed away.”

Embarrassment of an online relationship. A feeling shared by many that kindle deep feelings before ever meeting someone. Yet an all too plausible explanation that makes perfect sense, even if it doesn’t uncover the deep dark secret people so desperately wanted after these last few days.  And while there are those still clinging to the December 6th date where Te’o heard from someone claiming to be Kekua, Te’o didn’t truly believe that the girl he loved didn’t exist until just two days ago.

“He was not fully convinced that Lennay Kekua did not exist until two days ago, when he heard from Ronaiah Tuiasosopo,” Schaap said.

Te’o’s story will eventually be categorized as just another cautionary tale and likely fade into the next big national controversy. But it shouldn’t stop all of us from taking a second to remember that it’s far more important to be right, than to be first or loudest.

For many, this won’t end with Te’o’s explanation. Little will convince them — either way — that Te’o was either an innocent pawn in a sick and twisted game or a chess master caught exploiting a media machine for his gain.

But I still believe in Manti Te’o. If only because I’ve spent four years watching him grow up, making his message to Tuiasosopo all the more predictable.

“I hope he learns,” Te’o told ESPN. “I hope he understands what he’s done. I don’t wish an ill thing to somebody. I just hope he learns. I think embarrassment is big enough.”

“I’ll be okay. As long as my family’s okay, I’ll be fine.”

195 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. almoose - Jan 20, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    As long as there are Humans mistakes will be made. The long and short of it! This too shall passw

  2. bernhtp - Jan 20, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    The key to understanding this strange saga is the word “belief.”

    The story of Manti paints a picture of a young man who deeply believes, and on many different levels. His belief took him to Notre Dame, drove him to work tirelessly, had him give generously of himself to others, made him the inspirational leader of the football team, and propelled that team to unexpected heights. Manti’s deep faith was not an insular one; he opened himself to others. He believed deeply in God, his family, church, friends, coaches, school, teammates, and a seemingly kindred soul on the other end of the internet. While his powerful belief brought great strength, it also had a soft underbelly that was exploited for perverse sport.

    Manti’s magnitude of belief is extremely rare, maybe even unique. Thus few can understand how someone can be that naïve and gullible. How one can have such a strong emotional relationship with someone he’s never met? Four years ago this deep belief caused Manti to disregard his lifelong affection for USC and the familiar warmth of southern California to go to Notre Dame for reasons he didn’t understand. Few, if any of us, would have done the same, but we generally found this specific leap of faith admirable and even inspiring. I certainly didn’t have a Paulian epiphany during prayer when I chose Notre Dame. I went for far more mundane reasons like a great academic reputation. Likewise with my girlfriends and wife.

    I am not Manti, and almost no one is, and that’s why it’s so hard for us to believe, let alone understand his actions. Before Swarbrick’s press conference I even termed Manti’s defense of a hoax perpetrated on him as “implausible” because my skeptical psychology reflexively disbelieved that level of uncritical belief. If you want to understand this situation, open yourself to the possibility that Manti is very different from you and anyone else you know. Once you accept this, you will understand, and you will believe too, at least in Manti. I did.

    • ndsugarsand - Jan 21, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      Perfectly said, thank you

    • bernhtp - Jan 21, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      The debate between Smith and Bayless perfectly captures the difference between those that can accept the possibility of strong belief and those that can’t. Smith says that there is nothing anyone can say that will make him believe that Manti wasn’t involved in the hoax and the growing mountain of evidence that he was purely a victim makes no difference.

      http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8865225

      • 9irish - Jan 21, 2013 at 9:38 PM

        Those two need to be put on the proverbial “slow boat to China.” It’s like watching two old women argue about wallpaper. I don’t think either believes what they are saying half the time, just drama. Hate it.

      • bernhtp - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:35 AM

        The majority of their so-called debates are contrived, disingenuous, and full of gratuitous hyperbole, but this may be among the most honest of them. I really believe that Smith cannot fathom the psychology of Te’o and thus reflexively disbelieves him regardless of what evidence is presented that corroborates all aspects of his story.

      • 9irish - Jan 22, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        I agree with that in this case (I saw it). I think Smith is one of those guys that can’t realize that 22 year olds do dumbass things. It has to be some great “conspiracy.” Nobody has ever come up with a reason to conspire.

  3. don74 - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    For those interested this is the timeline of the University’s investigation.

    http://www.southbendtribune.com/sports/notredame/sbt-investigating-the-hoax-20130119,0,6952488,full.story.

  4. yogihilt - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Was duped, found out, embarrassed to admit it, thought it would die out, and thought it would go away.

    Goin’ to house in Cancun for 2 weeks.. give it a rest.. in the um of all things in the world, not really a big deal

  5. yogihilt - Jan 20, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    uhhh… sum of all things….

  6. NotreDan - Jan 20, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    His character will shine through this too. He’s a damn good kid with a huge heart and a caring soul. These are the things that made him susceptible to this sick joke.

    I just hope he 1) learns from this and 2) doesn’t become jaded.

    The world needs more guys like Manti, and less guys like Johnny speeding ticket.

  7. c4evr - Jan 20, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    This just the 2012 version of the 1918 ‘Black Sox’ scandal and Shoeless Joe. I’m sure, if he lied to his dad and others, he knows more than he’s saying to the media. The bottom line is that it’s selling until the next story takes its place. That’s the world we live in – and as hard as it is to believe in this MTV generation that a kid can correspond for 2 years, talk endlessly on the phone (and never once think to Facetime or Skype), fall completely in love, and be inspired by a death that existed only in his mind, that has to say something about the power of belief and the importance of parables in today’s jaded society. The only evidence I have that he had no idea what the truth was is the terrible way he played after he supposedly learned of the hoax. if it turns out that he did, then all I can say is… “Say it ain’t so, T’eo!”

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:53 AM

      “never once think to Facetime or Skype”

      …check the MULTIPLE souces, he did try to do both, as well as meet with “her” in person. She rebuffed those offers or had an excuse every time. Just stop commenting if you’re going to cherry pick through the details.

      • c4evr - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:06 AM

        And he never once suspected anything fishy… stretches the imagination a little, no?

    • 9irish - Jan 21, 2013 at 9:46 PM

      God…you can tell the season is over, people are reaching reeeeeeeeeally far.

  8. dannythebisforbeast - Jan 20, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    He’s a liar and a fraud. Schaap didn’t ask anything he wasn’t prepared to answer and any answers that didnt make him the naive victim were EDITED OUT. That is not an interview that’s a PR statement. Not that I care about this nonissue at all. But your boy is a liar. Why he lied? Who knows possible he’s gay and he doesn’t want to let that out with all the potential money on the line. No one AND I MEAN NOONE can be conned for four years as NEVER see a live person and believe they exist. This is not 1940 and their pen pals. This is 2012 where u can have a face to face conversation with anybody anywhere at anytime. Kool aid drinkers

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:57 AM

      I don’t know how old you are, but lets assume, for the sake of argument, that you are 25 years old. That means that you personally have been conned into believing that you are all knowing for 25 years. That’s alot longer than the four years (which was acually three) that Teo was conned.

    • almoose - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      The individuals on this Blog are incapable of dealing with issues. The College uses them to counter anything negative and the students to go thumbs down when people such as you say something. You provide some thoughts that are on the minds of mature ND Fans. Keep it up!

  9. corsair5 - Jan 21, 2013 at 6:19 AM

    Anyone else tired of this crap. The season is over. The Irish had a great one. They got blown out, but we were there I suppose. I heard hockey started again. I also heard that Teo is no longer a member of the Irish football team. Another thing caught my eye as well was…. Football does not start again for another eight months. I think we all need to get back to the team we have NOW and not the team or the people on on it we had yesterday.

    Just a thought.

    • corsair5 - Jan 21, 2013 at 6:24 AM

      To add to my comment. Leave the kid alone. Let him go to the NFL and have a good time. He is a good player. He doesn’t do drugs, he did not rape anyone, Didn’t knock out a cop. Just let the kid live his life and go to the level that not one of us here can say we have been to. He is gonna make millions. Let him have fun with it. He is still a great player, and one we will not forget for a while.

  10. almoose - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Manti has hurt the College! The Coaches have hurt the School for not being more cautious of the statements. No funeral??? The Press should have questioned the girl instead of placing all the coverage on Manti at I believe the Michigan Game. the only player show cased was him. Not much on football..just pics of poor Manti..! I believe the School will be more cautious about holding one player up without checks.

    Now for Kelly. Recruits and then is ready to leave?? Was it he knew about Manti?? And next year when the Team takes the field all they hell we will hear is ..well remember Manti and what he did. Manti to slow to play in the NFL and the guys would not trust him. Tebow an example. Manti did not make a tackle in the Alabama by himself. He actualy ducked when trying to hit a guy!

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      almoose,

      I love it when you English as a Second Language students comment on the board. Looks like you’ve got a solid grasp of the vocabulary, but the grammar is still causing some challenges. Stick with it, English is a difficult language to learn. Best of luck!

  11. 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    I have exhausted all interest and energy in trying to make rational points about what was known, by whom, when, and the like. Those who want to see the worst already have, and always will whenever anything related to ND is in the news.

    What is an interesting topic is how many of those intent on seeing the worst in every ND-related topic are members of the media. To these certain elements, every story about ND is not just a chance to investigate and report, but an opening to attack, disparage and insinuate some nefarious motive, and in many cases to link ND and its shortcoming to the Rome, the Pope and to the scandal about priests who have molested kids. For example, the New York Times (you know, the one that purports to be “All the news that’s fit to print”) first addressed this story not with a report or chronology of what was know on what date, but with an article comparing ND’s “investigation” into Te’o’s matter with the lack of criminal prosecution in the sad case of Lizzy Seeburg. Imagine that, these two incidents had nothing in common, other than they both involved ND and its football team, but this is the article the NYT issues, flush with a quote from Ms. Seeburg’s father. The article didn’t bother to mention inconvenient facts like T’eo is not alleged to have done anything criminal in nature, and alleged crimes (like those alleged by Ms. Seeburg) at ND are subject to criminal investigations by ND’s own police department. Such glaring flaws in a “news” article have come to be expected in stories about ND.

    The transparency of the media’s motives is what really startles me, and it’s not just the Mark Mays whose ire is part of the character they play. It’s editorial pages of newspapers, periodicals and sportswriters. They wear their hatred for ND like a badge of honor, as it’s a symbol of their membership in a special club, and don’t even try to cloak their vitriol in feigned objectivity. You would think they would be embarrassed to be so patently and unabashedly partisan, but you’d be wrong for thinking so.

    • almoose - Jan 21, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      Manti made fools out of them. It’s payback. I feel so sad for the ND kids. This again just hurt the College. It will go away but at what cost. They will have some kids walk. Kelly now also a Question!

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 21, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        I don’t disagree that the media storm is largely out of spite and retribution for their own half-a$$ed efforts that resulted in this going undiscovered for so long.

        It goes beyond spite and goes beyond this story though. NYT, the Wash Post, and on and on cover ND in a completely different way than any other school or entity. As relevant as stories like Declan Sullivan, Lizzy Seeburg and others are, these media outfits froth at the mouth when they occur, and their zeal to cover these events has nothing to do with fulfilling a duty to keep the public informed. They don’t report on these stories, they crank out hit piece after hit piece and demonstrate how journalism (not just sportswriting) has devolved over the last 20 years to the point where the sane, thoughtful writers are probably waiting tables, and instead we have a collection of irresponsible hacks one-upping each other for the title of “most absurd/asinine” because it generates hits on their website. Then again, we get what we tolerate, so if we put up with hack writers, soon that’s all that will be left.

    • papadec - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      4horse – forget about rational. Anti-Catholic bigotry is still alive & thriving – and not just in the South.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        I think that is part of it and also that a segment of the press holds that grudge, bias or whatever else you might call it. From I can tell as someone who consumes a massive amount of print, web-based, radio and television media, there is also a segment of the press (and general public) that resents ND for what that segment considers a “holier than thou” demeanor, and then rejoices at any chance to say “see, you’re no better than the rest.” I think this segment also resents ND for its graduation success rate and its commitment to educating its athletes, including its football players. All kidding aside, ND is a Catholic institution of higher learning, so it is inevitable that it will have an air of religion to what it is doing, at least I hope this is always the case, otherwise the Trustees should just rename it “Northern Indiana University.” All the same, other strong schools with successful football programs and no religious affiliation (Stanford, Northwestern ,Vanderbilt, Michigan) don’t get near the response from the press when a story breaks, so how else can you explain the media’s fascination with any negative story about ND?

  12. almoose - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    You know what is obvious.. the lack of interest by the fans. They don’t care! Just 70 some bias comments from a school of thousands. Not on their radar!

  13. cfballfan1 - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    ND & associates can spin this any way they want while doing what they do best: stick their chests out and howl with righteous indignation.

    Te’o just might be stupid & naieve enough to be duped initially, but lets be honest here – he kept up the charade before the national title game and wanted to keep it covered up until after the draft.

    Everything else since then is damage control & posturing by Te’o and that windbag Swarbrick.

    • fish95 - Jan 21, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      To Mr. Moose’s programmers,

      Creating an algorithm designed to pass a Turing Test is a laudable goal that requires a huge amount of ingenuity. To that end I must express how impressed I am by your strategy of testing this program via the comments section of a sports blog. Specifically, your decision to create a “Troll Program” (“almoose”) allows you to run a large number of test interactions in the form of “comments” … Purposeful misspellings and poor grammar only ADD to the impression that “almoose” is a real person (why would computer program misspell anything?).

      The only “bug” that I can discern thus far is your program’s inability to put forth a coherent statement or actually interact with other commenters but I think all of us understand that one must crawl before walking. Who knows next season “almoose” may actually be able to make a real argument?

      Nevertheless, as it stands now “he” has the ability to perform the job of columnist for a number of major websites (who can doubt that once word of your breakthrough gets out Rick Reilly and Jason Whitlock will looking over their shoulder?) I for one look forward to that day, but until then best of luck!

      ps. Hard to miss the poetry in creating a fake commenter in reference to an article about another fake person. Kudos – very clever, you.

  14. mungman69 - Jan 21, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    I gotta believe him. BUT this whole event is crazy. Most of us can’t comprehend the things he went through.

    • mayesdays - Jan 21, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      The above comments about the media are very true. For those of us who live around Chicago, 670 the score is all over Manti. Their hate for him and Notre Dame in general is nuts. Manti thought he had something real, found out the hard way about it and was embarrassed. But 670′s afternoon guys call him an idiot, a liar and all the above. Really? What just last week Michael Crabtree for the 49ers was questioned about an assault on a woman and Ray Lewis recently has become a fan favorite but his NFL career wasn’t exactly started on a good note. The point is, Manti’s story and personal life shouldn’t be that big of a deal but apparently it is. I guess I never get use to the hatred towards Notre Dame and the animosity towards the University. Nonetheless I hope he has a good NFL career and does it with the Chicago Bears. Not because I am a Bears fan but just so he can shove it up 670′s ace. Either way, this year was an awesome one for this ND fan and Te’O’s play on the field was a big part of that.

  15. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Jan 21, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    Sucker.

  16. almoose - Jan 21, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Well enough of this

  17. c4evr - Jan 21, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    The disturbing trend of cluelessness surround the University is disturbing. O’sullivan, Seeberg, now T’eo – how long before something of Penn State proportions takes place while the administration shrugs and throws their hands up in the air. It’s starting to smell like U$C around here.

    • c4evr - Jan 21, 2013 at 9:51 PM

      4horse,

      It’s only ‘spite and retribution’ in the deluded minds of those that hold ND up as the Holy Grail of college football and principles. The University is as much to blame as anyone else. Inconsistency with player discipline (after his DUI arrest, Floyd never missed a game after a 3rd offense in 2 years), botched internal investigations (not interviewing player in Seeberg case until 5 days after she had died), and the clumsy handling of the Sullivan case has created serious credibility issues for Notre Dame. T’eo is simply the latest public relations nightmare that makes the administration look foolish. There’s a price to pay for these high profile disasters that no amount of wins can cover.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:40 AM

        Hyperbole, straw men arguments and ad hominem attacks. C4ever, are you really Maureen Dowd or Anderson Cooper?

        I don’t hold ND up as the holy grail of anything, nor does a credible reading of any comment i’ve ever posted indicate that. instead, i’ve pointed out what is laudable about the way the school educates kids and the way the football program maintains integrity while many (most) schools around them have forsaken integrity long ago. Whether “public relations nightmares” exist, is in large part owed to people like yourself who insist that any time ND’s name is mentioned, something crooked and insidious has taken place.

        Just because there are a cadre of like-minded football fans who, like you, detest everything about ND, and like-minded journalists who make a living publishing stories spawned from their hatred for ND, doesn’t mean that your echo chamber isn’t just self-perpetuating nonsense.

  18. mountain32153 - Jan 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Well I would like to wish the College good luck on this issue. It will pass and the Teams will play on. I don’t fault Kelly for checking the turf at the NFL and now is back! I believe they will have another good season next year while the recruiting will get them even better. Let’s remember that these kids go to a wonderful University and have academics to deal with. OK less so in the SEC. This is about character and teamwork that Notre Dame instills. When President Truman Fired MacArthur he let him have all the noise and said behind the scenes that the noise would go away and it did. Manti will leave and this too shall pass. It’s a shame that the kid has this to follow him! To all Fans and Students God Bless you, keep your Chins up as you are attending a Wonderful School so be Proud!
    P/S I Hope this AL Moose begins to post some insightful comments instead of the vindictive spew he has unleashed. That aside.. Thanks to all the supporters of ND

  19. mountain32153 - Jan 22, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    I don’t want to take too much of the room or be redundant here but I think the Basketball Team is fun to watch and hope the season ends to their goal of winning. Isn’t it great to walk on Campus and be able to enjoy some of the wonderful Tradition?

  20. steele9153 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    oh for Pete’s sake – what a puff piece. nd is a cult.

  21. fnc111 - Jan 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Brian Te’o said, “Manti is not a liar.”

    Manti Te’o said, “I lied about the relationship.

    Lol god bless America. This is a meaningless story when it comes down to it though. The idiots running our country need to be discussed more often before its too late to save the greatest country on earth.

  22. poppajohn818 - Jan 24, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Where are all the questions for Hillary & BO about Bengazi, where are the questions about Taxes, Obamacare, the Debt, Guns and the Budget which is Constitutionally supposed to be in the books and it has been 4yrs so far. Come on people let us get off this kid’s back & start saving America so there will be an NFL draft etc. Get a life people. It was a HOAX and he has suffered enough. I believe him enough said

  23. 32maniac - Jan 24, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    Manti… Stop doing interviews. Don’t say anymore. The Domers are getting upset. You’re tromping on the grave of Knute and stomping all over Rudy’s aura.

    Just stop! ND, alums and subway alums just want to forget this happened. Its an embarrassment to ND football.

    LOL forever!!!

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