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  • The Deadspinning of Manti Te’o

    by SEE

    Deadspinning: “Irresponsible journalists acting on small pieces of a story that they don’t yet fully understand who rush to condemn a person who was put through an emotional wringer over many months, assign him nefarious motives and pontificate about the University that rightly defended him.”

    The victims in the Manti Te’o story were people who trusted “sports journalists” to do their jobs, which is to use their privileged positions to ferret out the truth, bring perspective to stories and highlight the knowns and unknowns so that readers and viewers, who don’t do this for a living, gain a greater understanding of the issues.

    Instead, we witnessed real time information vomit followed by gossip, rumor mongering and completely unsupported accusations passing as journalism.

    It starts with the Deadspin, which was quite unbelievably lauded by some for its reporting on the Manti hoax, when in fact they did a horrific and irresponsible investigative job, missed giant pieces of the story and started an internet fire storm that that could very well do long-term damage to a fine and upstanding man.  Yes, they received attention and page views and that should make parent Gawker happy, but not only did they run with half a story (and congratulated themselves for doing so) , they ended that story by making sure they raised suspicion about Teo’s involvement, by including this line “A friend of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo told us he was “80 percent sure” that Manti Te’o was “in on it,” .   That “friend” was apparently the guy on twitter who tipped them off to the story.

    And this is how a story that should have read, “Star player traumatized in a Catfish scam” became “Star player likely in on story to concoct a fake girlfriend to gain notoriety for Heisman run”.

    Here’s a Deadspin writer on “breaking the story.”

    First, on “breaking a story”.  Being “first with the worst” is not admirable in any way.   What is admirable is to wait until you have a firm grasp of the meaning of the facts before “breaking the story.” If you don’t have a sound perspective on the story, then it’s your job as a journalist to tread very, very carefully instead of feeding wild speculation.   Deadspin did Teo a grave injustice by writing as if the “story” was a hoax perpetrated on the public and then attempting to connect Teo to the fabrication of the story vs. what really happened, he was trapped into a weird relationship and when the fake girl faked her death it became news.  The “story” was not a hoax, the girl was a hoax and that’s a crucial distinction.

    But that was just the start.  Soon media outlets, new and old, large and small began wildly speculating.

    The Chicago Tribune is an interesting study.  Even as standards editor Margaret Holt was apologizing for not getting the story straight back in September, her writers were busy doing something far worse, abusing their positions with unsubstantiated accusations.  Steve Rosenbloom was the lead abuser:

    Now playing in the banana republic of South Bend: Te’o and the Lying Irish Steve Rosenbloom  “you have no choice but to believe that the sanctimonious hucksters in the banana republic of South Bend were exposed as frauds.If you didn’t know it before, you were an idiot. You ought to see it now: The wonks in charge are as unburdened by morality as every other athletic program. They will lie, if they have to cover up something that might hurt their chances of winning a football game. They lied in the Te’o case. They admitted it.  And Irish wonks encouraged Te’o to continue the lie in advance of the game. Interim atheletic director Jack Swarbrick said so during his awful-looking press conference Wednesday evening. “We encouraged him to focus forward and focus on the game,’’ Swarbrick said.”

    Besides the fact that Rosenbloom called Swarbrick an interim “atheletic” director, there’s the point that Notre Dame didn’t lie, Notre Dame didn’t encourage Manti to lie and in no way did the hoax influence the game. It wasn’t as if Notre Dame was going to suspend Manti for being duped. There was no reason for ND to rush forward with the story.

    Tribune writer Teddy Greenstein on Mike and Mike used the Manti story to concoct this amazing theory about Notre Dame being a fraud:

    “I expected them to play a really good game, I expected it to be a close one. Instead that team is completely exposed.  And then you’ve got Brian Kelly shopping himself to the Eagles for six days and losing a recruit, so you get abused on that front and then you’ve got Manti. You start to wonder how much of this was a fraud?”

    Okay, Teddy.  Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun Times  decided to share his ‘beliefs”:

    “Which brings me to what I believe is the real reason Te’o — and apparently his father, at least — went along with this scheme: the Heisman Trophy.”

    Of course, there was no evidence that  Teo “went along with the scheme”, but Telander not only arrives at that conclusion,  he’s also clear on the motive.

    The New York Daily News implied there was some cover-up:

     ”Like a gust of wind, the Notre Dame myth/spin machine cleansed the polluted air. ”

    Dave Zirin, of the Nation, made a wild leap from Teo being “catfished” to the tragic case of Lizzy Seeberg, the St. Mary’s student  with a history of psychological problems who committed suicide after accusing a player of touching her breast.  A charge authorities ultimately decided against pursuing because it was so flawed and the Seeburg’s account didn’t square with the truth.

    “It says so much that Te’o’s bizarre soap opera has moved Swarbrick to openly weeping but he hasn’t spared one tear, let alone held one press conference, for Lizzy Seeberg, the young woman who took her own life after coming forward with allegations that a member of the team sexually assaulted her. Swarbrick’s press conference displayed that the problem at Notre Dame is not just football players without a compass; it’s the adults without a conscience. Their credo isn’t any kind of desire for truth or justice. Instead it seems to be little more than a constant effort to protect the Fighting Irish brand, no matter who gets hurt.”

    Bill Plaschke of the Tribune owned Los Angeles Times had no problem using logic based on incomplete facts to impugn Te’o:

    “Yet the surrounding facts make this deniability hard to believe. That this woman didn’t exist could have been hidden in an online relationship, but Te’o frequently presented it as more than that. There are numerous examples of Te’o talking about meeting the girl. His father has even been quoted about her visiting him. Nothing makes sense, other than the truly sad possibility that Te’o was involved in creating the girlfriend to enhance his story and help his Heisman chances.”

    John Cherwa, also of the Los Angeles Times, added the institutional angle:

    “Perhaps the saddest part of the Manti Te’o Internet fraud story is the total lack of leadership shown by the once hallowed institution of Notre Dame. While a forensic examination of Te’o’s statements would likely make it clear he was not telling nothing but the whole truth, the fact that the school allowed — and even encouraged — Te’o to not come clean on the hoax and focus on the BCS title game is beyond appalling. Don’t be persuaded by the near-teary press conference of Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick. He deserves a nomination for best supporting accomplice. Do you think that press conference would have been held if had not made public these sordid details of deception?”

    New York Magazine unbelievably questioned girlfriend protocol to create doubt:

    “means it only took him about two months after what he believed to be the actual, tragic death of his girlfriend to start dating again. That seems like kind of a quick rebound, although we’re not totally clear on the protocol for mourning a girlfriend you never met.”

    The Plain Dealer went with the “Heisman Narrative” approach, even tying it to Lance Armstrong:

    Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o sought to prove that a great narrative is sometimes better than the truth: Now it appears you have to have a good story to get to the top of the heap, a story that just may turn out to be a spectacular lie.

    Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock, always intellectually out of control when it comes to Notre Dame, jumps right into the conspiracy theory without knowing, really, anything:

    “Lying is easy when you’re living one. No institution is living a bigger lie than Notre Dame. The Golden Dome believes it can live up to its religious ideals while participating in the systematic financial exploitation of young people. Everyone associated with the lie of amateurism is all in with Manti Te’o”

    Fox really went for the sleaze and had no problem assuming the worst:

    Notre shame? Holes emerge in Manti Te’o ‘hoax’ story It remains unclear how Te’o could have been unaware of the truth about Kekua.

    Even worse, Dr. Keith Ablow, a Fox medical reporter posited that Te’o suffers from a delusional disease.  “Dr. Keith discusses Manti Te’o and ‘The Delusional Disease'”:

    “Te’o insists he was duped by someone who wanted him to fall in love with an imposter, with a ghost created by today’s technology—a phenomenon known as “catfishing.”  Yet, many inconsistencies in Te’o’s own story of the couple’s supposed romance raise the question of whether he was part of the scheme.  If so, some theorize his motivation may have been to create a mythical, magical story to help propel him to the Heisman trophy. Either way, Te’o needs psychological help.

    Paul Doyle, of the  Hartford Courant, used the school angle:

    The school peddled Manti Te’o’s story, benefiting from the heart-wrenching tale as the football program revived itself last fall. So when the hoax was revealed, Notre Dame immediately should have gone public to set the record straight. If we’re to believe the timeline of events, Te’o was still telling the story after notifying the school of the hoax in late December. If that is in fact the truth, Notre Dame and Te’o were knowingly propagating a lie. That makes Jack Swarbrick’s emotional press conference all the more bizarre.

    Doyle seems to think that using the word “if” allows him to imply whatever he wants.

    Amid all of the terrible reporting, the prize winner here is Jim Gray.

    “There are an awful lot of holes in this story,” Gray began, “and everything indicates that, yes, Manti Te’o is a fraud. His ‘girlfriend’ was in a car accident and almost died and he didn’t visit her? Then she had leukemia and he didn’t visit her or go to the funeral? You can’t make this stuff up, but somebody just did. One teammate has come out and said that Te’o played up this entire story and they all knew this wasn’t his girlfriend.”

    Not only were writers jumping to wild conclusions about Teo, but they then jumped to wild conclusions based on their wild conclusions.

    The ex-head of CNN Sports, Bill MacPhail gave this advice, “Assumption is the mother of all f#$kups. Your job as a journalist is to challenge assumptions to make sure you have the right story and the story right.”

    Just like Richard Jewell in ’96 and The Duke Lacrosse Scandal in ’06, no one had the right story, the story right nor did they seem to care.

    Turns out the biggest hoax in this story was journalism itself.


    90 Responses to “The Deadspinning of Manti Te’o”

    1. Some people irrationally hate Notre Dame. Some people are given good reason by stuff like this.

      Deadspin didn’t abandon their sensationalist or cynical approach to news, but they did expose the truth. Comparison to the Duke lacrosse scandal? The thrust of Deadspin’s story is demonstrably correct – and got us MUCH closer to the truth (there remain unanswered questions). Better comparisons would be the Drudge Report breaking the Lewinsky scandal and National Enquirer exposing John Edwards.

      Interestingly, Drudge broke the Lewinsky story because Newsweek was going to sit on it. Deadspin broke this story because, against the advice of Notre Dame, Te’o and his family sat on it. Don’t like that Deadspin got us closer to the truth? Sour grapes.

      • Pat,
        You are an idiot. They did not “expose the truth”. They delivered a story designed to bring down Te’o by indicating he was behind an elaborate hoax to create a fake girlfriend, only to kill her, to win the Heisman.

        They had no evidence that Te’o was behind it, but ran with it anyway.

        Please think more critically.

        • ND Chicago says:

          The idiots in the press who claim this was done to enhance Te’o’s Heisman chances can’t be taken seriously. Te’o would have to be able to predict the future and know on September 12th that ND was going to go undefeated and all the other front runners at the beginning of the season were going to tank. If ND isn’t undefeated Te’o isn’t in the Heisman conversation. Laughable lack of common sense.

          • he would have had to know , after like 2 games against navy & a squeakier vs PU, that he would become the first truly defensive Heisman winner in what…forever? better make up a girlfriend, kill her off, bring her back, and then quite possible ruin my (professional) future. give this kid a break He loses 2 grandparents in the same year, thought he made a real connection with someone, and may not be as worldly as the american journalistic community.

      • Deadspin didn’t expose “the truth” they exposed “a truth” and failed miserably to put the pieces together in a fair manner to get to “the truth.” “The truth” is that the hoax had no connection to the story. The hoax was not done to create the story.

        Neither of your examples is remotely applicable. The Lewinsky and Edwards cases involved the law. There was no law broken here, no malice and ultimately, no story here other than a guy who was scammed on the internet. Clinton and Edwards were the perpetrators. Teo is a victim and a victim can choose how he wants or if he wants to talk about it. There was no reason for Notre Dame nor Manti to get the facts out to the public. None. More over, both Edwards and Clinton had done something that needed a coverup, Manti was not guilty of doing anything and he didn’t owe the world an explanation about how he was duped.

        Deadspin did Teo a grave injustice by writing as if the “story” was a hoax perpetrated on the public and then attempting to connect Teo to the fabrication of the story vs. what really happened, he was trapped into a weird relationship and when the girl faked her death it became news.

        1. They set the entire story up to feed into the idea that the hoax was manufactured for the story. They didn’t at all challenge their underlying assumption that this was done in someway to benefit Teo via “the story.” The “story” wasn’t a hoax, the girl was a hoax — that’s an enormous difference.

        2. They then highlighted every fact that would somehow tie Teo into this mess. Teo friended the perp. The timelines don’t match-up. etc.

        > The real story was “Star player traumatized in a Catfish scam.” Deadspin did not expose this truth, nor attempt to do so. In fact, they obfuscated it.

        > The story Deadspin wrote which spawned all the copy cat stories was “Most inspirational story of the year is a hoax likely perpetrated by the guy we all thought was beyond reproach and enabled by scheming Notre Dame.” That was a lie and they’re responsible for it.

        Other than getting a fact out there that any elementary school kid could have also done, they didn’t do any proper investigating, failed to examine possibilities and frankly acted as a bunch of adolescents would who just learned a secret about a kid at school.

        • Earnestly, thanks for your perspective, SEE. You make some fair points there.

          “The story Deadspin wrote which spawned all the copy cat stories was “Most inspirational story of the year is a hoax likely perpetrated by the guy we all thought was beyond reproach and enabled by scheming Notre Dame.” That was a lie and they’re responsible for it.”

          I didn’t see it that way at all.

          Our differences seem to stem from our perceptions of the use of “hoax” and what it encompasses. You took a broad view: the article’s implication is that the entire story was a ruse from the start, knowingly and purposely fabricated. I took a narrow view: the hoax is only that the girlfriend never existed. I didn’t know whether Manti was duped or a perpetrator after reading the article. Therefore, I reserved judgment whether or not the entire Lennay story was built on deceit or gullibility. I thought most people read it that way. I thought that was the big question that remained open. In other words, I didn’t prejudge Manti or assume his complicity after reading that article.

          I’ll simply copy what I said in reply below: I wasn’t comparing the gravity of this hoax to a President lying; I was making comparisons to how the stories broke. The frame of reference is media and how the information went public, not the scandals.

          It’s true, the “80%” quote is very, very sloppy. Still, my take was the article left as an open question what Manti ultimately knew. I reread it and still think the article is solid in that regard. Its service to us was that it exposed the truth that Lennay never even existed – yes, leaving a lot of questions unanswered. I’m not going to shoot the messenger for leaving some rocks unturned where the media otherwise failed so spectacularly.

          • george kaplan says:

            A lot of the blame is on th 24 -hr news cucle, and you see it in Benghazi and elsewhere. If there’s notjing to report, report something: rumors, old news( often wrong or slanted or ambiguous, like tying this story to the Lizzie Kapln story- RIP, she could have been my daughter). The media feed on blood and evil . The lie becomes the truth. So it goes.

          • david saint says:

            I just cant concur Pat. Its incumbent upon journalists to report facts, not suspicions, and be neutral and let the public decide. Deadshiz, for a lack of a better name I can call them here, did the opposite. They presented half truths and speculation, and formed an opinion based on them and portrayed them to the public as fact, merely to make a name for themselves. Its nothing more than greed on their part. Personally, Id like to see Manti sue the one writer who went around on talk shows accusing him falsely, aka making false and defamatory statements. And though it would be a challenge, yes i think he would win. However, luckily for them Manti is a bigger and better person than they are and will just move on without any ill will. Which brings me to the public. What does it say about us when we constantly jump on any opportunity to bring a good person down? Is it that we just enjoy being bullies? Is it jealousy to make people feel better about their rotten lives? Or is it just plain cowardice in that they are doing it behind a keyboard? I think its all of the above, but I digress…

        • Amen, SEE. This is how I have viewed this “story” from the very beginning and haven’t swayed one bit since BSPN thrust their grubby little paws into the cookie jar as well. Te’o did absolutely nothing to anyone and is now being punished for some FAKE misdeed. Shame on Deadspin; shame on the media.

      • Pat, you are either unable to read or simply a blind imbecile. The point of this story is that all of the other writers (as evidenced here) got the story wrong since Tuiasosopo admitted that he orchestrated the entire farce and also apologized to Te’o. This means Manti is innocent if that wasn’t clear enough.

        • Kim, if you think anything I wrote hangs Manti out to dry or implicates him, there’s little wonder we viewed the Deadspin article differently. My own view, after following all the relentless coverage of this story, is that that Manti was indeed duped, but he embellished the story as his and the football team’s stature grew. Lennay evolved from a friend, to a girlfriend, to the “love of my life.” I think he was goaded into running with it, and he did. I’m not implying it was even nefarious. The story grew legs. Because I think he was duped, though, I don’t doubt the sincerity of his emotions at the time: the mourning, the pain. I also certainly don’t doubt the sincerity of his humiliation now.

          Your personal attacks – they really just perpetuate all the negative stereotypes of this board, generally.

          • Really, Pat? So, I didn’t just read that you compared this (non-)story to other stories where crimes were actually perpetrated, did I? He embelished the story for no other reason than he stated; he was embarrassed that he had never met her, yet had feelings for her. Has this never happened to you? I will tell you that I used to write to a lady in Australia as a pen pal. Soon into our writing, the letters began to take on different meaning. Then pictures were excahnged and then once per month phone conversations ensued. You know what, I can see where Te’o got caught up in the heat of things as his relationship (if you will) with who he thought was Lennay progressed. Anyone who can’t is simply lying to themselves or has some axe to grind with Te’o/ND.

            • Manti lied, people died!

              Kidding, of course. No, Scott, I think by now I’ve made it abundantly clear that I was merely comparing how the stories broke, not the content of those stories.

              I agree with you, though, I think Manti got caught up in this thing.

            • Yes, Manti did lie… to his father. It is not as-if he lied to anyone else. Once his father responded to the media, I am sure he felt that his hands were tied from then on.

              Also, since you are comparing this to how the other stories broke, then we agree. I still remember the whole Duke LaCrosse scandal like it was yesterday. Mike Nifong should be ashamed of himself for the great fabrication he promoted in his attempt to turn the stripper into the victim when it was the other way around. In all honesty, I believe that is how this will play out as well.

            • Scott, I think you are going to want to check out the Katie Couric interview.

      • Deadspin exposed a story but missed the truth. Deadspin implicated Te’o based on their assumptions, not facts.

        By now people should not that Te’o is not the first person to be caught in a catfishing scheme.
        Go after the people committing the fraud not the victim.

        • Why would they when it is much easier for them to target Te’o/ND? Now, having said this, just know that I agree with you 100%. All I am saying is that what is “sensational” about deciphering the truth from a no-name like Tuiasosopo when the story is much more “delicious” for the reader when it targets Manti Te’o and the University of Notre Dame?

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

        Paul Simon once wrote “I would not be convicted … by a jury of my peers … ”

        Manti would be convicted by a jury of his pees for these reasons:

        (1) Raise your hand if you know someone, other than Te’o, who claims to have fallen madly in love with a woman he never met, kissed, hugged or anything else that normally happens in the context of a real relationship?

        (2) Raise your hand if you think Te’o deserves a pass for making everyone at Notre Dame believe he’d suffered a devastating loss of a girlfriend he’d never met?

        (3) Raise your hand if you think Te’o’s teammates would throw him under the bus if they didn’t believe he was a selfish, lying POS?

        (4) Raise your hand if you think a single NFL teammate will ever trust Te’o?

        (5) Raise your hand if you think Te’o, for however innocent he may have been with respect to the original hoax, has done more damage to Notre Dame’s image than any player in its history by shining us all on?

        Sadly, Manti Te’o is a name which I suspect will live in infamy in Notre Dame lore simply because he was so selfish.

        • This is almost too stupid for words.

          1) I take it you haven’t read the articles about Catfishing. It’s very common.
          2) “Manti didn’t make everyone believe”, he believed.
          3) His teamates didn’t, the ones on the record did. One anonymous player did.
          4) Absolutely, he’ll be a top pick and a top player.
          5) Teo did nothing to ND’s image.

          Raise your hand if you think Bob is an idiot

        • Mike Coffey says:

          I find it rather ironic that a person who posts under one name and yet gives an email address that indicates a very different one would take Manti Te’o to task for alleged issues with straightforwardness and honesty.

    2. I am witIt is hard to express how disgusted I am with humanity. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence the hate continues.

      Let’s be clear. Manti Te’o was a victim of one of the most heinous acts. Someone intentionally hooked him into a false relationship then tore his heart out. Yet, they were not done terrorizing him. They came back to tell him that this was all a hoax adding humiliation on top of grief. WHY???? Are we so pathetic as a society?? Then to watch the media assault him as though he were the bad guy is borderline evil.

      God forgive us for what we have become. God save us from what we have become as a society.

    3. This story is a reason to hate Notre Dame, and it’s comparable to the President of the United States lying and obstructing justice? You must find the world a very confusing place.

      • Yes, quite a leap in logic.

      • I should be clear: “This stuff” was in reference to the editorial, not the hoax story.

        Also, I wasn’t comparing the gravity of this hoax to a President lying; I was making comparisons to how the stories broke. The frame of reference is media and how the information went public, not the scandals.

    4. I am 80 percent sure they did a realy shitty job.. The Seeburg conections take the cake.. Well done response.

    5. Well done.
      That video is hilarious, by the way. That should be evidence enough alone of Deadspin’s nonsense campaign, that guy doesn’t even believe what he s trying to say!

    6. does it feel weird to go to such great lengths to defend someone — an admitted liar — that you have never met? All because he played football at Notre Dame?

      Te’o is either the biggest moron on the planet or at the center of a massive lie. Neither speaks well of his character.

      • ProfKid93 says:

        It’s not weird at all. Manti is an alum and part of the ND family. He was the victim of an incredibly long term and complicated online hoax, and he wasn’t the only one to be taken in by the same hoaxer. Considering all the idiots who are mouthing off without the whole story, it’s good someone is standing up for him.

      • how does it feel assassinating someone’s character (who’s entire history before this incident was being a God fearing practicing mormon and boy scout) when it has increasingly become clear that he’s not ” at the center of a massive lie” but rather a trusting victim, by calling him a the biggest moron on the planet? does that make you feel good? i wish all of us Notre Dame fans could be as smart and honest as the rest of you perfect winners

        • He was either in on it or extremely gullible, to put it lightly. You wouldn’t consider someone who falls in love with another person he has never met and can never even see on FaceTime a moron? It doesn’t make me feel good, but it makes me a realist.

          Reading his answers to ESPN only makes the story more hazy and unflattering for Te’o. He can’t have it both ways: he can’t call her his “girlfriend” one moment (a girl he has never met, I remind you), and then the next moment say he “never considered” visiting her in the hospital. Maybe I’m just a helpless romantic, but I would visit my girlfriend on her death bed.

          • Do you have any hard evidence behind your assertion that he was behind it? Or are you parroting the mindless media? Te’o was guilty of embellishing a relationship to his parents and friends. He demonstrated that he was kindhearted and trusting yet naive and emotional. That’s it.

            With what has been presented, to believe that Manti as “in on it”, you’ (1) have to be a media member looking for a salacious story (2) run a website looking for clicks on your “Manti did it” story or (3) believe that 9/11 was perpetrated by the US gov’t, believe that the moonwalk was staged in Hollywood studio, and believe that the Holocaust never happened.

            • I’m not a member of the media, I don’t run a website, and I don’t believe in 9/11 conspiracy theories or that the Holocaust never happened. I’m not seeing your connection between me being skeptical of Te’o’s story and having to believe those things, either.

              And thanks for bringing up “evidence”, because that is exactly what I want! It would go a long way towards helping Te’o look like he is not full of crap. If he could show some phone records of his 8 hour phone calls or receipts for the roses he bought her, that would help his credibility, no?

              When you read his answers to Schaap, you find they are more helpful than confusing? Why would he continue to be “trusting” towards the family of Lennay even after her voice called him on December 6th and said she had never died?

              Sorry I’m so skeptical, it’s just hard to trust someone who lied to you in the first place.

            • clearly Sean you’re not as gullible as Manti but on the other hand you’re nowhere as nice either so it makes sense for you to have your own cynical take on it. good for you it’s a free country

      • “Te’o is either the biggest moron on the planet or at the center of a massive lie. Neither speaks well of his character.”

        Teo’s character has already been established in the way he has treated everyone around him his entire life. He sets a moral standard that few others have achieved at his age. To now question his character based on a few days of questionable reporting, in which YOU DO NOT KNOW ALL THE FACTS, speaks sadly of your own character.

        I know people who have 100% trust and faith in others. I strongly believe Te’o is one of these people. They are very easy to deceive because by choice/nature they RARELY question anything they are told – they have absolute faith in everyone around them regardless of the situation. My friend’s mother takes in homeless people into her house to provide temporary shelter. Naturally, some people steal from her. She tells us not to think of it as stealing, but to think of it as having provided them with something that they needed.

        You may choose to call these people morons or assault their character, but by doing so you are simply speaking for the jaded way you have chosen to live your own existence.

        • If it wasn’t obvious, the post immediately above is a different Pat than the Pat that posted first. Imagine that – there being more than one Pat at a board that loves the Fighting Irish.

          -The REAL Pat
          i.e. The not-going-to-break-Deadspin’s balls-but-still-likes-Manti Pat

    7. It’s not the hate that people across harbor against Notre Dame, it’s the hypocrisy. Notre Dame boldly holds itself out as an institution apart from other institutions of higher learning. We are told that it is a special place, above reproach. Yet, the name (brand) remains tarnished for many. It is a Catholic institution for better than average students. For me, that’s where it ends to be “special”. It now stands with all the other universities and colleges, no better, no worse. The last few years of controversy involving scandalous reports of the Seeberg girl’s tragic death, Declan Sullivan’s unfortunate accident and resulting death and now the mishandling of the T’eo affair. Surrounding these events stands Jack Swarbrick who has elected to defend his employer regardless of what is morally right. Father Jenkins is equally to blame allowing these events to be defended instead of acting as a Catholic priest first and an administrator second. The morally right thing to do might not be what is easy, popular or legally effiecient for the university but it is what a “special” place would do.

      • I appreciate your thoughtful views, however I can’t allow you to do a “drive by” on the Seeburg “scandalous” report… and please be specific on how the university mishandled Teo’s case. Do you even know the details of either case? Please advise..

    8. “Te’o is either the biggest moron on the planet…”

      No, I think that award actually goes to you.

      • naw, because I didn’t carry on a relationship with someone I never met, never could see, yet fell in love with but didn’t have it “cross my mind” to go to her funeral. Do you see where it’s hard to believe him?

        • Profkid93 says:

          Well, it would be if that were the case, but that statement was actually about going to visit her in the hospital. The fake girl had made Manti promise to stay and play instead of going to the funeral. Of course, since you’re a half-informed internet tough guy more interested in slagging on a young man than the truth, it probably doesn’t make much difference.

          • Thanks for correcting me, but isn’t that worse? To not even think about visiting your “girlfriend” when she is in the hospital?

            And no, I’m more interested in the truth. Sorry I’m trying to find it through the myriad of discrepancies in Te’o’s original story, the AD’s story, and Te’o’s current story.

            • GraceHallChapel86 says:

              The problem with self-appointed popes like you, Sean, is that you were apparently born 51 1/2 years old.

              Manti T’eo is a small town kid raised by a wholesome family who ended up having a remarkable skill for football–a skill that put him on a big stage under big lights. All the evidence reveals that when this whole thing started, Notre Dame was a floundering football program, Manti wasn’t in the running for the Heisman, he had a rocky relationship with a new coach he didn’t choose, and he wasn’t sure he would even stay out his eligibility. A combination of events this season he never foresaw (his grandmother’s death, a stellar season for him, and an undefeated regular season for Notre Dame) conspired to thrust his private embellishments into the glare of media attention in a way he could not control. He lost control of the story, yes. But far older, wiser, and more experienced men have done little better (and some far worse) than this 20-some year old Mormon kid from small town Hawaii.

              To listen to “truth seekers” like you is to listen to people who don’t /think/ at all–they merely /conclude/. Tell me, have you concluded that God Himself was in on making all those things happen (including the undefeated season) so that Manti’s “fraud” would be exposed so that your personal quest for truth could be achieved? I’m not sure I even believe that, but have it your way.

              Lift high your Holy Grail, then–along with all the other clowns mentioned in this article, gathered around Monte Python’s Round Table.

        • It’s interesting that you consider yourself eligible to pass such harsh judgment on someone you don’t know for something that you’re only partially informed about.

          • We pass judgement on people all the time. And you are right, I am partially informed. And so are you. But from what we know, Manti has lied in the past and his current story takes a great leap of faith to believe. Would he really be that dumb, to continue to stay in contact with Lennay and her family even after she called and told him on December 6th she never died? Is it really out of line for me to judge him as an idiot if this is the case?

            • Yeah. It’s totally out of line.

            • Sean,

              “He who is without sin, cast the first stone…”

              Please remember these words in your judgement.

            • Frank Brandon says:

              Sean, just wondering if you are the idiot. What was your gpa in whatever school you attended. And what is Manti’s. Just so that we are able to judge on equal footing. Just like Deadspin, I am just throwing out questions that I don’t have all the answers to, but I think everybody has a right to know.

        • This kid is/was a trusting person who by every account is an authentic young man. He did nothing.

          The sheer cruelty of those who did this to him seems lost. I find the lack of sympathy for him troubling. Considering that not one person posting on this has 1/10 of the noteriety thathe has means you have no idea of what it is like to walk in his shoes. So he is naive. Is that a crime? Does that mean he should have to go though all of this?

          Oh by the way, for those who say ND should have come forward before the bowl game, this reaction is a large part of the reason.

        • Mike Coffey says:

          Hard to go to a funeral that is scheduled the same day as Michigan.

          Can you imagine the reaction if our best player was going to miss that game because he was going to some girl’s funeral in California?

    9. Sdadaynd77 says:

      Rosenbloom failed to disclose that he is a Southern Cal graduate. Funny thing.

    10. ND Chicago says:

      All the bottom feeders of from the media have declared open season on ND because of this situation. Rosenbloom can’t be taken serious because he is an alum of one of the most corrupt institutions in the history of the NCAA; USC. Whitlock is an idiot because he’s railing against a system that provides an opportunity to many young men and women who otherwise would never have the opportunity or means to attend schools like ND. If they weren’t given the opportunity he would complain about that. All the other journalists who have taken this opportunity to invoke the names of Declan Sullivan and Lizzy Seeberg are just using this platform to spew their agenda- anti-ND rhetoric. What context do these two tragedies have to do with the current situation? Nothing. They can’t say ND, or someone from ND, broke the law or violated an NCAA rule in regard to the Manti hoax so they have to dredge up things from more than 2 years ago in an attempt to smear ND.

      As for Manti, he’s guilty of lying to his father. He’s a 22 years old who was embarrassed to tell his father the girl he had been talking with didn’t show up for their scheduled date. Most have lied to their father about worse. Unfortunately for him, his father repeated the lie to a journalist and from there the lie was embellished. Manti perpetuated the lie and played along never dreaming the lie would be exposed. That’s where his guilt/fault ends in this mess. The rest of the blame lies with the sick, low lifes who perpetrated this deranged hoax. The interesting thing to me is that through this whole mess not one person who has actually met Manti has had a bad thing to say about him. By all accounts from teamates, classmates, coaches, and those who know him he’s the real deal, a genuinely good person. I’m going to look at his entire canvas up until this point and this is the only mistake he’s made; he didn’t break a law, he didn’t commit a NCAA violation, and he didn’t intentionally hurt anyone. I’m sure he will spend a good part of his life regretting the lie he told his father and living with the embarrassment this situation has caused him and his family. That is punishment enough and if he lives the rest of his life the way he has prior to this situation he will be fine and he’ll always be a Domer.

    11. Excellent, excellent piece. I wish this piece could somehow get more exposure. Of course, none of the journalists are going to come out and say “I was wrong” and, as such, NDN is probably the only place this will be posted. But people need to see a collection like this (on a single page) of the shitty shitty journalism that has been done in this instance to begin to understand how terrible this has been.

      All the real evidence thus far shows that Manti was indeed duped, and that is was I firmly believe and have firmly believed since the story first broke. How about this though? Imagine (even now) that Manti is on it? That frankly would be a genius scheme with, presumably, the prime motive to call out current-day journalism for the absolute joke that it is. We all get duped by the media every single day, it’s just that the wild conclusions that are made by journalists are much less high profile stories for the most part. So your Average Joe doesn’t really question it, he just absorbs it. We get inundated with news. Absolutely inundated. And so much of it is done by shitty journalists like the one’s listed above. They don’t understand, nor do they care about the fundamentals of journalism. They simply want to play to the “markets”……they want hits on their site…..they play to the emotions which create hits…..fear, disgust, hatred (people love to see others get embarrassed….the basis of the popularity of reality TV….does the (surprising [to me]) popularity of MTV’s “Punked” ring a bell for anyone in light of the Manti story?). That is, journalists like to “juice” at an Armstrong-level of misdirected ambition. Do whatever it takes to get the win (massive hits in the case of journalism). Never mind whether you did a fundamentally good job and didn’t take short cuts. It’s too much of a risk to not get the win right now. The “right way” is simply to win. Doesn’t matter how you got there. Do whatever it takes to get the win….there are no morals other than “winning” or “losing.”

      This our reality folks. Really sad.

      Although, I am happy to see that Manti is likely walk away from this without any permanent damage to his career.

      GO IRISH!

    12. Stan Musial died this evening

      • And, this has what to do with this story? Or, are you trying to be cute and funny? If so, you FAILED.

    13. GraceHallChapel86 says:

      Fantastic analysis.

      When I was at ND I was drawn into a romantic relationship with a local girl. Who she said she was turned out to be an almost total fabrication, and it took me years to understand the depth of her deception. It had become so much a part of my understanding of reality that even after the relationship ended I found myself putting things together way, way after the fact. ONCE YOU BUY IN, IT IS EXTRAORDINARILY DIFFICULT TO DISABUSE YOURSELF OF THE DECEPTION–your psyche simply doesn’t allow it that easily. This is why, in my read of things, Manti “found out” that his “dead” girlfriend was in fact still “alive”…and even into January couldn’t fully bring himself to conclude she didn’t really exist.

      All I have to say for all these “experts” is that no one who has ever stood up for the actions of a political party–any of them, ever–has no business pontificating about someone else’ gullibility and the inadvisablity of defending absurdly implausible. And that would include pretty much every single one of the media outlets quoted in this article.

    14. We are the 20 percent!

      Kinda catchy, no?

    15. I think the media (the evil, evil media!) isn’t immediately defended Te’o because they aren’t sure what to make of such an unusual story. A scandal gets exposed when more and more facts are discovered. With a hoax you look for facts that did NOT exist. There is a degree of surrealism to this whole story so I think that reporters are hesitant to declare Manti totally clean here. Also people are struggling to believe that an All American linebacker from Notre Dame could be so gullible and emotionally needy

      • GraceHallChapel86 says:

        Much of what you say rings true, Jack, but it leads to the question:

        Why would people think that being an “All American linebacker from Notre Dame” should exempt a young man from traits that are almost universally common to males of the human race when it comes to relating to females of the human race? Is there something about playing that position, or playing it especially well at a particular school that makes a person inherently wiser about such matters?

    16. My concern is after after all that went on, and with ND sitting you down with the results of their investigation on January 5th, Manti still wasn’t convinced that he was being had until last wednesday??? (The16th) He was not and is not connecting the dots. It seems to be delusional.

    17. May we please move on from this story and focus on something important???? This continued non-stop coverage of this bizzare situation has gotten totally out of hand.

    18. Rick Derris says:

      I hope that no fan of Notre Dame – or any fan of responsible journalism, for that matter – ever reads any Gawker Media website ever again. Nick Denton and Hamilton Nolan are human scum. They aren’t “journalists.” They are hacks whose only reason for existence is to embarrass and humiliate people.

    19. The media loves to spin the story and create the hero but they what they truly love is to tear them down and eat them alive. One way or the other the beast must be fed. It’s a sport as cruel as the hoax itself.

      My heart goes out to Manti and his family.

    20. He who is without sin cast the first

      • I just mentioned this very same sentence to someone else in this thread. I’m glad we’re on the same page.

    21. george kaplan says:

      Note that on the ESPn site today the story is now a prank. 4 days ago, and 2 days ago on Fox, Manti was the equivalent of Joe Pa and Armstrong and Tiger. Now it’s a prank . No apologies. No retractions. No nothing. All we can ever do is turn the other cheek.

    22. Thank you, ND Chicago for a well-written response.

      I have a question: Does anyone know how (or if) Rosenbloom addressed the Reggie Bush situation at USC and what he said about USC’s involvement in the incident?

    23. The wrath here against Deadspin is mistargeted. Deadspin gave Manti multiple opportunities to respond to the allegations and otherwise did a great job of exposing a major hoax that never should have gotten that far in the first place if Manti had been upfront and honest. They’ve done nothing wrong. The 80% quote is one man’s opinion and he probably based it on the fact that Manti had been tipped off that his dead girlfriend was a hoax and yet Manti and his father continued to perpetuate the lie in the media.

      • What Deadspin did was atrocious journalism. “An opportunity to respond” means nothing. Teo owes them nothing. It’s their job, regardless of whether Teo talks, to seek information, perspective and challenge their own beliefs. It’s as if everyone’s gone braindead. They should have looked at the 80% quote and decided it was wholly irrelevant and likely misleading.

        If I were advising Teo, the last thing I would do would be to let him talk to a bunch of hacks who showed with their story, that they’re out to create a narrative, rather than report on it. It was horrific journalism.

      • What do you mean, exactly? Deadspin didn’t expose the “hoax”, they created a “story” that targeted Te’o and ND. Is this what you call giving “Manti multiple opportunities to respond to the allegations” and doing a “great job of exposing a major hoax that never should have gotten that far in the first place”? If so, then you’re just as gulible as the rest of the populace that fully trusts the media. Deadspin did a “great job” alright. They did a “great job” of creating a fantasy and deeming it newsworthy.

        • Almost forgot… (your website) did a great job of fabricating the truth to sensationalize the story.

    24. Very good article. Deadspin intentionally put in the statement about Manti possibly being part of the hoax in order to sensationalize the story more. They used someone else’s words to say what they could not say without being sued for liable. Manti and ND being part of the hoax sells more than if they are victims. And the coverage is about making money and nothing more. They talk about ND selling “mythology.” No one sells mythology better than the media.

      All of the journalists cited are hacks, many having an ax to grind against anything ND. They ruin peoples lives in the name of pretend journalism. And pretend that long distant relationships don’t exist. Before the internet, people would have telephonic relationships that would grow into something deeper, all without having ever met the other person. Nowadays the internet and facebook are common meeting places where relationships develop. I wonder how many of the disbelievers raved about the movie You’ve Got Mail?

      At the end of the day, the most critical people are the ones that failed to do their jobs. Some even knew there was no obituary or record of the girl but still ran with their story. Why? Because the story sold newspapers and ad space on TV. Why don’t they put the camaras on themselves and answer questions about how they go about their jobs? My first question is what investigative reporting are they doing now on the perpetrator? Manti stated that the people involved in the hoax called him and asked for his checking account number while he was in his hotel room at the BCS game. Is it possible that the person who started the story is holed up with his lawyer hoping that he did not expose himself to a more serious situation? No, the journalists won’t investigate that or damn that person for not speaking to the media. It is easier to accuse a young man of masterminding this fraud within hours of his grandmother dying. That is the leap of logic one has to make in order to believe Manti was part of the fraud. Or do these reporters think that Manti planned to “kill off the girlfriend” as part of the hoax and was simply waiting for one of his relatives to die? The lack of reasoning these so-called journalists use is beyond belief to me.

      And as regards the hand wringing over Manti perpetuating the hoax after his suspicions were arroused, what was he supposed to do? The media built up the story, not him. Was he supposed to call a press conference and say I might have been hustled by pranksters but I’m not sure? People are so quick to take the moral high ground and tell everyone how they should handle being scammed. Look at the stories of Madoff and how his victims had grave suspicions and did nothing for months or years. Scammers rely on the victims being so embarrassed that they keep their mouths shut and continue pretending to the outside world that everything is fine. And these victims are adults in their 40s, 50s and 60s. If they’re at a loss on how to respond to a hoax, how can you condemn 21 year old kid. Yes, a kid. Anyone with children that are in their early 20s knows what I am saying. And those who don’t, you must have forgot how naive you were at that age.

    25. Thank You! I’m so tired of the media BS. This entire storyline reeks of poor journalism. No, correct that, disturbingly horrific journalism. This article articulated the point to perfection. Keep up the good work trying to keeping these morons in check. If only you could get the nations attention…

    26. This is nothing more than a sad story about some scumbags who hoaxed a very naive kid who happened to be a very famous football player.

      There is no ‘legend’, there is no ‘legacy’, there is no ‘saga’ – just some of the words used to describe this sad story. This poor kid has been humiliated in front of the whole damn world, whatever his faults, and IMO he needs and deserves our prayers and he needs to be left alone to heal.

      This will die when we let it, because WE are keeping it alive. Hopefully the beginning of the annual two week hyperbole festival that is the period between between the conference championships and the super dooper bowl will help this story to die.

    27. Bob Howsam, Jr. says:

      Recent reporting on this sordid mess has suggested that there is no criminal angle, but perhaps there is.

      The folks were were being this hoax … and let’s face it … there appear to several … continued to pursue Te’o until shortly before the game, right?

      Isn’t it possible that these folks were trying to get Te’o off his game and they … or there sponsors … were betting Bama big time?

      A hoax is one thing, but when a group of people go to the folks these folks did, and pursue it right up to game time, that strongly suggests to me that their real motive was to distract Te’o and the coaches so that Notre Dame would do exactly what it did … play horribly.

      Bama was clearly the better team, but a huge storyline was how badly Te’o played and how many tackles the normally sure-handed Te’o missed.

      Perhaps that was the goal all along, i.e., to undermine the Irish’s performance for betting reasons.

      This is rank speculation on my part, but the hoax perps seemed so intent on taking this to game time, you have to believe there’s at least some possibility that there is more to the story.

      • An elaborate conspiracy theory, but one must wonder, eh? Money is the root of all evil, most will say.

    28. Many of these comments come very close to defamation and my have crossed the line.

      Manti has very savvy advisors. Notre Dame has its own resources. I’d love to see some of these media outlets have to pay for their rush to judge a young man and a great University without bothering to get facts.

      • Bob Howsam, Jr. says:


        Paul Simon once wrote “I would not be convicted … by a jury of my peers … ”

        Manti would be convicted by a jury of his pees for these reasons:

        (1) Raise your hand if you know someone, other than Te’o, who claims to have fallen madly in love with a woman he never met, kissed, hugged or anything else that normally happens in the context of a real relationship?

        (2) Raise your hand if you think Te’o deserves a pass for making everyone at Notre Dame believe he’d suffered a devastating loss of a girlfriend he’d never met?

        (3) Raise your hand if you think Te’o’s teammates would throw him under the bus if they didn’t believe he was a selfish, lying POS?

        (4) Raise your hand if you think a single NFL teammate will ever trust Te’o?

        (5) Raise your hand if you think Te’o, for however innocent he may have been with respect to the original hoax, has done more damage to Notre Dame’s image than any player in its history by shining us all on?

        Sadly, Manti Te’o is a name which I suspect will live in infamy in Notre Dame lore simply because he was so selfish.

    29. Don Foleyd says:

      Here is a link that gives some perspective to Manti’s scandal.

    30. With the announcement that Manti Te’o will be doing an interview with Katie Couric, this whole silly thing officially became a farce.

      Free advice – let it die.

      Manti- cancel the interview.

    31. TerryND1983 says:

      Ezra Klein followed David Zirin’s lead and also leaped from Te’o’s story to the Seeberg story on Jan 18, 2013’s “The Last Word”, segment titled “Notre Dame’s Real Tragedy” I sent an email response to MSNBC — — calling foul on this hachet job.

      • Frank Brandon says:

        To TerryND1983, Thanks for the link. What a joke they are at Msnbc. Yes, I just love how the “journalist” from Slate quotes other people’s reporting(Henneberger) and then makes judgements based on it. Then, when asked if the Fed investigation has brought forth anything, she says, no, not yet but they are in jeopardy of their Title 10 status. Title 10? You would think these hack femnist journalists would at least know a little about what they are talking about….asking too much. I do not like the way the University handled any of this(Ms. Seeberg, D. Sullivan or Manti) but the crappy journalism has got to be called out. I think NBC should be held accountable when msnbc does a hatchet job on us.

        • TerryND1983 says:

          I’m a feminist and a progressive Democrat but Klein’s ND segment ticked me off because he ignored the complexity of that story and didn’t consider that what happened to the accused ND football player could be similar to what happened to the Duke Men’s Lacrosse team. Unfortunately we’ll never know the truth, but as our law says, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. The burden is on the state to prove the accused guilty. While I sympathize with victims of sexual assault, if I sat on a jury, would I find the accused guilty or not? I’m a feminist but I’m also an American citizen who believes in the rule of law.

          When I attended ND during the 1981-82 winter, there was a rapist attacking ND women students. The victims then told their stories to the police and ND security who were able to deduce that the perpetrator was not an ND student or employee. He was an ambush predator and used the cover of darkness and other natural and man-made blinds on campus to select and attack his victims. He also wore a ski mask to hide his face. The police believed that this rapist walked on campus from any point surrounding the campus. ND was an open campus not a citadel then. When Spring came and the days were longer, the attacks stopped. The Observer never said that this attacker was caught. The attacks just stopped, so he either gave it up or was caught by police committing a crime someplace else.

          I actually like MSNBC’s primetime lineup. Rachel Maddow is my favorite. She’s honest and does fact checking before she does her stories, but when she does commit an error, she admits it to her viewers and explains where she went wrong.

          I’ve only warmed up to O’Donnell’s show, “The Last Word”, since October 2012. He’s pretty good about getting his facts straight too and his experience working in the US Senate is valuable when he has to explain some of the arcane stuff that happens in Congress. I just find his delivery style a bit stunted, though he’s gotten a bit better than when I first watched him.

          I actually like Ezra Klein as a policy wonk. He’s really good at that stuff, but he still needs work as a TV show host. Hopefully, he, the producers of that ND segment and Mr. O’Donnell will read my email criticizing them about their ND segment and not jump to conclusions about legal cases in the future.

    32. Enough already!

    33. As sad as this story is, there is some type of closure. If Deadspin did anything, it was not to prolong this another minute. The psychological health of the Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students should be the first priority over any football or financial gain for the University. There have been 2 student suicides, a student that was sent up to film a football practice in unsafe conditions/equipment and tragical died and now this. The entire world saw the distress on Manti’s face at the BCS game. What is horrifying to learn is that ND knew about this mess weeks before this game. I cannot imagine the psychological stressors that Manti faced as a young person. We need to do better as an academic and catholic institution to step in when we see our young people falter at the earliest stages. No game or $ is worth it. Hopefully, there are staff that are getting educated on how to relate to our young cat fishing, suicide, stress…