A sad, sad song.

Only one story to talk about today, and it’s long but amazing: Manti Te’o, punked? Or in on it?

(I knew nothing of this, which is what you get for ignoring the sports section.)

Posted at 6:59 am in Current events |

89 responses to “A sad, sad song.”

  1. James said on January 17, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Here’s the most telling quote:
    “Faith,” he told ESPN, “is believing in something that you most likely can’t see, but you believe to be true. You feel in your heart, and in your soul, that it’s true, but you still take that leap.”

    Sheesh! That’s also a good definition for “willful ignorance.”

    Makes me glad to be an unbeliever.

    335 chars

  2. Dave said on January 17, 2013 at 8:09 am

    It’s hard to understand this story without thinking, as James has said above, “willful ignorance”, or this football player is naive beyond the normal limits. They weren’t trading letters as start-up pen pals or anything like times distantly past, they were using all these modern toys to dupe him or him duping himself. It’s hard to believe he didn’t try to do a little research on her using the Internet, which brings us back to the “willful ignorance” part again.

    If, in fact, Notre Dame really does enforce academic standards on their players as they claim, then he isn’t exactly stupid. Yes, James, I think you’ve got it.

    631 chars

  3. Basset said on January 17, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Ignoring the sports section? In a hospital waiting room right now, reading choices are the local parents’ magazine, the Watchtower and a Sports Illustrated from last October so I took SI. Piece in there about the NBA putting a team in Brooklyn. I had no idea.

    262 chars

  4. nancy said on January 17, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Doesn’t anyone think there’s at least a halfway decent chance he was in on the deception? He was a top-five Heisman candidate, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he thought a little human-interest angle might have put him over the top.

    231 chars

  5. Dave said on January 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Don’t you think that goes along with the “willful ignorance”? It was great human interest material and he went with it.

    120 chars

  6. James said on January 17, 2013 at 8:38 am


    I do. At the very least, he was promoting the story.

    I still can’t understand how one can claim to have a girlfriend that they’ve never met.

    153 chars

  7. Bob (not Greene) said on January 17, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Of course he was in on it. Maybe at first he wasn’t, but he had to be pretty early on. She was his soulmate. She was in a car accident. She had leukemia. He never went to see her once? He didn’t go to her funeral? That doesn’t strike anyone as odd? Also, he tells ND about the hoax on Dec. 26 — and he’s still talking about it afterward! Not only does he perpetuate the fraud, Notre Dame is complicit in encouraging it.

    420 chars

  8. Dexter said on January 17, 2013 at 9:14 am

    This is fraud, a great athlete realizing that since he was having a magical football season ( the football amazingly kept bouncing into his hands for interceptions nearly every game) he thought by having a recently-dead girlfriend , why, the sympathies might boost him to the Heisman. It takes every edge; broadcaster Joe Theismann was “Joe “THEES-mun” Theismann in high school, but when he was in the running for a trophy he became Joe “THIGHS-mun” Theismann.

    Instantly I began thinking this was every bit as calculating as Lance Armstrong’s lies. Of course, it’s apples and oranges, but both cases are full of deceit. Manti Te’o deserves no sympathy now, he deserves to be cast into the hall of sports liars and cheats.
    I, and I can assume all of you have many online friends we have never met but nonetheless care for as much as in-your-face friends and family, but c’mon, man! That’s different. What kind of athletic college-age man who surely has girls interested in him (St. Mary’s is just across a little bitty lake) calls some online acquaintance “my girlfriend”? Bullshit and worse…blatant opportunism backfired.

    1140 chars

  9. nancy said on January 17, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I think he’s gay. This is the tragically-dead-girlfriend plot from the gay canon: “I cannot marry, for you see, I have this tragically dead girlfriend. My heart was buried with her. So no, I won’t agree to be fixed up with your sister, for I no longer have the capacity to love. Say, is your brother still in town? We really need to catch up. Maybe have some drinks.”

    367 chars

  10. Lex said on January 17, 2013 at 9:16 am

    “We applaud the president’s sensible gun-control proposals and look forward to working with him to implement them,” NRA spokeswoman Lennay Kekua told reporters.

    160 chars

  11. John (not McCain) said on January 17, 2013 at 9:35 am

    The gay possibility was the first thing I thought of, but then I’m pretty old. Aren’t all the hip young people down with the Friends of Dorothy? Do they really have to do all that beardage anymore? The publicity angle makes more sense.

    238 chars

  12. Jolene said on January 17, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I still can’t understand how one can claim to have an girlfriend that they’ve never met.

    From Chris Cillizza, WaPo political reporter on Twitter last night: What’s the big deal with Manti Teo? I had tons of imaginary girlfriends in my teen years!

    263 chars

  13. nancy said on January 17, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I dunno. A Mormon kid who plays football at a Catholic school might have trouble coming to public terms with his sexuality?

    I’m doubling down on the Gay Theory. Although the Heisman should still be at 3-2.

    230 chars

  14. brian stouder said on January 17, 2013 at 9:46 am

    This hoax story analysis is classic nn.c stuff. I’ve heard of Notre Dame football, and was marginally aware of their great season and blow-out loss, and I’d heard and seen the somewhat interesting hyphenated name of this player. Therefore, the breaking news ‘hoax’ story caught my ear, and made me say “huh” when I heard it.

    Nancy’s suggestion that he was in on it was therefore a new thought (for me); and the thought that he’s gay was even more new, and strikes me as having the ring of truth, too. Otherwise, his real girlfriend(s) would have seen through this whole thing a very long time ago.

    So NOW – I have a great curve ball to throw at the water-cooler crowd, hereabouts! Thanks, Nancy!

    701 chars

  15. Suzanne said on January 17, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I just heard about the Notre Dame player hoax gf yesterday and thought something seemed fishy. I didn’t catch that she supposedly went to St. Mary’s. That would make it really, incredibly unbelievable.

    Between the rape scandal, the poor videographer that died when his perch blew over, and now this, well, my opinion of ND goes ever downward.

    349 chars

  16. 4dbirds said on January 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I’m with you Nance on the gay theory. He can’t come out. He’s Mormon, he wants a career in the NFL, etc. Make up a story about a tragic lost love and gets everyone off your back. However, his young brain which thought it had the perfect answer didn’t think through all the ways everyone could blow holes through it.

    319 chars

  17. brian stouder said on January 17, 2013 at 10:13 am

    …and when he comes out, all the alliances shift, and open-minded people and folks who have hearts which have not turned to stone will embrace him, and there’ll be a best-selling tell-all book, and a tear-jerking movie (Notre Dame football breeds movies like that).

    You can just see it all comin’, yes?

    306 chars

  18. John (not McCain) said on January 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I bow before the Proprietress’ superior analysis, and eagerly await the It Gets Better video.

    93 chars

  19. Prospero said on January 17, 2013 at 10:27 am

    If Manti wasn’t in on that shit, so much for the TDJesus story about superior students.

    Her relatives told him that at her lowest points, as she fought to emerge from a coma, her breathing rate would increase at the sound of his voice,” Thamel wrote.

    Couldn’t they get Frist on the phone to verify her mental acuity by videotape? Do people actually fight to emerge from comas? I kinda doubt it. If I ever find myself in a coma, I will stay rolling champagned and having endless orgasms, not thinking about some bonehead ND football player. Maybe Venus Williams, though. One more sportswriter going for Mitch-land bites the dust. Manti was only the second best LB in the nation anyway.

    697 chars

  20. DellaDash said on January 17, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Manti & Ronaiah forever

    27 chars

  21. Bitter Scribe said on January 17, 2013 at 10:30 am

    The gay thing seems a little far-fetched to me. OTOH, Notre Dame and its many apologists insist that the kid knew nothing about it, and that seems really far-fetched.

    173 chars

  22. Charlotte said on January 17, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Oh so sad. Of course he’s gay! Can’t Steve Young go give him the lowdown on living the quiet life of a gay, Mormon NFL player (rumor when I lived out there was that the SF cops were forever providing cover for Steve at the gay bars). Dude! Making up a tragically double-dead girlfriend!? Car wreck plus leukemia? Come on …

    331 chars

  23. Heather said on January 17, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I was going to say that a devout Mormon having a girlfriend he’s never met is within the realm of possibility, but the gay theory makes sense. I have to say I find these hoaxes really fascinating (and disturbing too of course). I read recently about the rash of fake cancer patients trolling for sympathy and more. The narrative is surprisingly similar–especially the escalating list of troubles. The fake cancer victims often had increasingly horrible tales of family strife, abuse, abandonment, etc.

    502 chars

  24. Tom M said on January 17, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Tragically injured girlfriend who later dies is of a piece with a tragically dead godhead. His parents knew of it, he knew of it and likely the school swallowed the story whole. Why wouldn’t they? They’re in the business of swallowing myths, what’s one more?

    After all the other awards, a Heisman had to be worth a few bucks come post-draft contract negotiations. Deadspin is full of good stories. Check the link to the Gawker story on the Newtown truthers.

    460 chars

  25. Charlotte said on January 17, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Who was that middle-aged woman who wrote all the memoirs as an abused boy a few years ago? And got her stepdaughter to dress up as the kid and do appearances? JT something? That one too had the ever-escalating tales of horror embedded in it …

    244 chars

  26. Prospero said on January 17, 2013 at 10:54 am

    I’d say, if Manti is gay and somebody felt the need to create the gf, that is sad. Why wasn’t she a boy? Manti’s legend may be a fraud, but not so fraudulent as ND’s fb status this year. They lost to Pitt but the refs cheated. They could not have beaten Oregon UGA, or a host of other top fb schools.

    300 chars

  27. Peter said on January 17, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Whoa…not that there’s anything wrong with that!!

    I was going to give him a little benefit of the doubt – perhaps he really did fall for the whole car accident leukemia thing, and then she “dies”, and then it becomes a big news story and THEN you find out you’ve been hosed. What do you do? Admit that you’ve been had and this was a hoax? Oh yeah, that’ll work out just fine. Or do you keep the story going, but downplay it a bit, hope it dies down, and then just move on? I’m not the only one who would go for option B.

    The gay part though makes a lot of sense. There’s been more than one person who said this guy could walk into any bar and get what he wants, so what’s with the Facebook friend?

    710 chars

  28. Heather said on January 17, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Charlotte: J.T. LeRoy.

    22 chars

  29. Ann said on January 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I was intrigued by this piece on how linking as a good journalistic practice in the digital age might have prevented some of this. http://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/linking-and-checklists-could-have-prevented-journalists-from-manti-teo-girlfriend-hoax-embarrassment/

    And this piece analyzing how improbable the Notre Dame current version is. http://outkickthecoverage.com/manti-teos-fake-dead-girlfriend-breaks-the-internet.php

    440 chars

  30. JWfromNJ said on January 17, 2013 at 11:09 am

    It’s not cool to make fun of this. After all, a girl who never existed is still dead.

    85 chars

  31. Kirk said on January 17, 2013 at 11:13 am

    I had to read the story twice before I figured out that he allegedly had a girlfriend he had never seen. What the hell?

    119 chars

  32. susan said on January 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Nancy- Dan Savage agrees with you:

    My Girlfriend Who Dies In California… College football players don’t have much trouble getting girlfriends. So why would a college football player—a Mormon playing at a Catholic school—get a fake girlfriend? A fake dead girlfriend? I can think of one explanation…

    453 chars

  33. MaryRC said on January 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Charlotte, that was Laura Albert whose alter ego was JT Leroy, a former street kid who had been a prostitute and addict: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JT_LeRoy. JT had many long phone conversations with publishers and other writers, but he did appear in public on rare occasions. He was played by a friend of Laura Albert’s named Savannah Knoop.

    356 chars

  34. MichaelG said on January 17, 2013 at 11:15 am

    After having read the piece it’s pretty difficult to think anything other than that Teo was part of the deception. My first thought was that it was part of the Heisman publicity drive given the timing of the start and end of the business but I like the gay thing too. There’s no reason that the two have to be mutually exclusive. ND’s weaseling amuses me.

    358 chars

  35. Prospero said on January 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Yep. Jes made ‘er up. This isn’t about sexuality, it’s about working the fracking refs.

    87 chars

  36. alex said on January 17, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I think Nance is almost certainly right. Funny, it wasn’t the first thing that occurred to me, but then I’ve become so liberated in my old age that I’ve forgotten what a struggle it was for young people of my generation and still is for some in this one.

    254 chars

  37. BigHank53 said on January 17, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Notre Dame’s weaseling isn’t funny, it’s fatal:


    111 chars

  38. Jeff Borden said on January 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I’m agnostic on whether Manti is gay or not, but I definitely believe this was an effort to schmooze Heisman voters. I’m not a super geek on sports trivia, but wouldn’t he have been the first at his position to win one? It would boost his value on the NFL market to win that trophy, right?

    Regarding Notre Dame as an institution, it is just as dirty and manipulative as every other big-time football school, but university officials, alums and students inhale the freaking fairy dust that insists it is somehow cleaner, more moral and upstanding and just generally superior in every way. This is why I was thrilled by the thrashing the Irish suffered at the hands of Alabama. Had they won a national championship, the clouds of smug arrogance over South Bend would have been visible from the moon.

    800 chars

  39. Tim said on January 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Whoever ran the Te’o scam really punked the media — especially Sports Illustrated, the South Bend Tribune and the Notre Dame public relations and coaching staffs — who perpetuated that hokey story without first subjecting it to the smell test (“Really? Your girlfriend is mortally ill and you don’t go out to see her?”) and then running at least a cursory fact check, such as seeing if Ms. Kekua was a Stanford student.
    Also, how did the Deadspin reporters find the identity of the woman whose image was appropriated for the scam? I’m impressed.

    549 chars

  40. Brandon said on January 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Doesn’t anyone think there’s at least a halfway decent chance he was in on the deception? He was a top-five Heisman candidate, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he thought a little human-interest angle might have put him over the top.

    I’m the only commenter here from Hawaii, and I’ve said before, Manti Te`o was and is HUGE in the islands. This story was at the top of last night’s local news, and will continue to be covered extensively. I’ll reserve judgment until all the facts come out.

    504 chars

  41. coozledad said on January 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    A lot of football programs work to let the players get away with everything. When I was at ECU a couple of players rolled this friend of mine and broke a couple of his ribs just for the hell of it. I don’t think it was because he spoke Russian to them:

    308 chars

  42. Jeff Borden said on January 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Did anyone else see the amazing story on Gawker yesterday about the animal rights nuts who are targeting a professor at Wayne State University who is studying solutions to congestive heart failure using rodents and, sometimes, dogs as subjects of his experiments? The Klan. . .neo Nazis. . .al Queda would be proud of the threats and rhetoric these loons utilize in their pursuit of scientists. It’s seriously disturbed shit. There’s a very scary website called Negotiation Is Over serving as a clearinghouse for information on those who work with animals.

    A UCLA neuroscientist had his car bombed by these fuck weasels and received an envelope stuffed with razor blades at his home. An accompanying note promised the scientist his throat would soon be slit.

    With so much human suffering in our world. . .disease, hunger, homelessness, povery. . .how can sentient human beings be so consumed by the welfare of lab rats? How can they justify denying science that might cure horrible diseases in the name of creatures with no self-awareness?

    1045 chars

  43. Basset said on January 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    on a topic I’ve been watching much more closely… Mrs. B’s pacemaker is now in place, all went well, she goes home tomorrow. And we thank you all for the support.

    164 chars

  44. nancy said on January 17, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Tim, there’s a good piece on Poynter today about how the reporting was done, and it’s a real duh moment: They got a tip, and they started Googling. Beware of a person who has no digital footprint beyond what was written about her in connection with her link to M.T. Then they called Stanford. And it was one step after another from there.

    There’s a separate piece on the editing. This passage is exactly right, and the last bit should send a chill down the Albomic spine:

    Well, I understand how this slipped through the cracks initially. If I’m a beat guy and I have 500 words to file after practice come hell or high water and the best player on the team has just told me a story about his dear, departed girlfriend, I’m not going to go spelunking through SSA death records to make sure he’s not full of shit. They won’t say that out loud in journalism classes or anything, but that’s just the nature of covering sports on a hard deadline.

    I have less sympathy for the folks who crafted those painstaking “Love Story”-in-cleats feature stories about Manti and his dead girlfriend. Those were dumb, infantilizing stories to begin with, and they were executed poorly and sloppily, and if there’s any lesson to be drawn from this, it’s that this kind of simpering crap should be eliminated from the sports pages entirely.

    I tried really, really hard not to end zone-dance over the Goeglein incident; I honestly think it was just dumb luck on my part that it fell into my lap. But I was bugged by the reaction of the editors in FW, one of whom said, “Well, if you can’t trust a White House aide to be honest, who can you trust?” Opinion pages have a long history of hands-off editing, on the grounds that people’s opinions are their own, and it’s not our job to fact-check, blah blah blah. Once I started looking at all the pieces he’d cribbed, it seemed so obvious. Everything I know about White House staff life is that it blots out the sun; you work insane hours and fall into bed feeling cored like an apple. The Goegleins had a couple of children, too, and he’s describing hours spent reading these great books and all that. You could almost picture him in a book-lined study, puffing a pipe and staring into the fire in contemplation. Such transparent bullshit! I’m kicking myself for not seeing it earlier, but I also want to kick all the people in Fort Wayne who should have seen it, too.

    2746 chars

  45. brian stouder said on January 17, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    You could almost picture him in a book-lined study, puffing a pipe and staring into the fire in contemplation

    And it would’ve kept working, too, if he hadn’t mentioned that one obscure fellow (whatever the hell his name was) that made Nance say “What?!” and go looking for more about him.

    That’s my takeaway from that Goeglein/plagiarism debacle: an editor’s best defense is intellectual curiosity…or just plain ol’ ‘tell me more’/’where’s THAT coming from?’ persistence.

    Aside from that, thanks for sharing the good news, Basset.

    Onward and upward

    602 chars

  46. Kath said on January 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I think the lesson from this is if you are going to make up a fake girlfriend,give her a common name. If Mr. Te’o’s girlfriend had been called Sarah Ramirez, he would not be in this mess.

    187 chars

  47. Bitter Scribe said on January 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    John “Jackass” Kass of the Chicago Tribune weighed in with a pompous column about how if your mother says she loves you, check it out, etc. Like he never would have been fooled.

    184 chars

  48. Ann said on January 17, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Favorite comment on the Dan Savage page.
    “When I was closeted and living in the South (20 years ago), I invented a girlfriend because my co-workers kept asking so many questions about my dating life and activities over the weekend. After a year, the story had become so complicated and the lies so hard to remember that I had to kill her. So, she “died” in a tragic car wreck. Amusingly and without my asking, my manager came to me and gave me 5 days of bereavement leave. I used that week to fly to CA & look for another job. Found one and moved the fuck out of the South. No regrets and never looked back. “

    616 chars

  49. Brandon said on January 17, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    @Jeff Borden: A link to the Gawker story you mentioned:


    The group and people sounded familiar because I read about them last year in the SPLC magazine Intelligence Report:


    457 chars

  50. Connie said on January 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Good news Basset. The good news at our house is that my brother does NOT have lung cancer, rather he has histoplasmosis which looks like lung cancer on Xrays and CAT scans. Histoplasmosis is an all body fungal disease caused by inhaling spores from bat guano or chicken shit and is commonly referred to as caver’s disease. He should recover in a couple of months without much treatment. And he has 3 weeks in on his quit smoking effort.

    439 chars

  51. Jolene said on January 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Also, how did the Deadspin reporters find the identity of the woman whose image was appropriated for the scam?

    They used image-searching software. The photos were taken from social media sites and manipulated slightly, but not so much that the image-searching couldn’t find her. It’s explained in the Deadspin story Nancy linked to.

    342 chars

  52. brian stouder said on January 17, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Connie- good news, too – I think!

    The phrase all body fungal disease is a little scarey, though

    106 chars

  53. Jeff Borden said on January 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Bitter Scribe,

    You lift my spirits when you trash John Kass, whose awfulness as a big city newspaper columnist is eclipsed only by the enormous self-regard with which he views himself. He’s not as lazy or smarmy as the Mitchster is (or Bob Greene was), but instead tries to fashion himself as an iconoclast. . .the last honest man in a business filled with hacks. I can’t recall the last time I made it through one of his “columns.”

    Kass is the definition of the guy who if he was half as smart as he thinks he is would be twice as smart as he really is.

    Thanks for the link, Brandon. I should have included it. Very scary shit.

    637 chars

  54. Tim said on January 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Nancy, thanks for the Poynter link. Still wondering, though, how they tracked down the actual girl from the picture. Another tip, maybe.
    One surprising aspect of the story is how common online-only “dating” seems to be– common enough to make a documentary and then a TV show about it. I’d never heard of “Catfish” until Jack Swarbrick mentioned it in his news conference yesterday. Looked up part of one show, in which a handsome guy in Flint says he’s been having an online relationship with a beautiful girl in Kalamazoo for a year and a half without even talking to her on the phone. She claims not to have a cell phone, he says. (As one of the hosts says, “That’s like saying you don’t wear pants!”) And though he doesn’t know she even exists, he says she’s more interesting than the girls in Flint.

    805 chars

    • nancy said on January 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Play around with Google’s image search. It’s really cool. I just dragged a photo of Justin Verlander into the search window, and it gave me an entire search page is the usual hot microsecond. I dragged one of Alan and I, and it said there were no matches, but gave me a lot of “visually similar” images. That’s what the Deadspin guys did with the photos of Manti’s mystery date. They said the images had been modified slightly, but not enough to fool the mighty G.

      465 chars

  55. Suzanne said on January 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    “I’m kicking myself for not seeing it earlier, but I also want to kick all the people in Fort Wayne who should have seen it, too.”

    I think they still don’t see it as was witnessed by his recent talk at the Lutheran seminary in Fort Wayne.

    243 chars

  56. Bitter Scribe said on January 17, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Jeff Borden: Thanks. Sometimes you can hear Mike Royko rolling in his grave over who now has his spot in the paper.

    115 chars

  57. Julie Robinson said on January 17, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    And the History Center, which is run by smart people who really ought to know better.

    My sports interests begin with IU basketball and pretty much end there too, except at this time of year when I can’t wait for the end of the football season. And ND is huge around here, but I still can’t understand the decision to put the story on the front page of the paper. The FRONT page. Nothing else of import happening in the world?

    428 chars

  58. Peter said on January 17, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Bitter at 47: That line about if your Mother says she loves you check it out is straight from the old City News Room, and I do think Kass worked there for a while. I believe that’s where Royko started as well.

    Jeff B at 53: I don’t think Kass is as bad as you say – although he is bad. I think his biggest problem is that he was tagged to be Royko’s heir apparent (his column is in the same place) and while he works the same side of the street, he’s no Royko Jr. Not even Royko Lite.

    493 chars

  59. Bitter Scribe said on January 17, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Peter, yes, I’m aware of that line and where it’s from. That doesn’t make it any less of a pompous cliche.

    106 chars

  60. mark said on January 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    JWfromNJ@30: That was roll on the floor funny.

    47 chars

  61. Jakash said on January 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    What I don’t understand is how you can have this funeral supposedly taking/having taken place in Carson, California, a city of less than 100,000 people — and there are national stories about it, and a Heisman-trophy candidate is involved in the stories– and NOBODY in Carson is curious enough to notice that there WAS no such funeral? No such person? I guess I can understand random national media figures not bothering to check this out enough. I can’t understand how, given the extremely interconnected world of today, this could have just slipped through on the local level.

    582 chars

  62. Jakash said on January 17, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I guess that goes for the folks around Stanford, too. There’s this fairly big human-interest story and nobody bothers to even look into the tragedy experienced by one of their alumnae or students?

    196 chars

  63. velvet goldmine said on January 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    So I was watching The Talk, my go-to for laundry folding but not necessarily coherent timelines. IF I heard correctly and they have their facts straight (I cannot stress enough how unlikely both these things happening simultaneously are), the hoax was perpetuated in part by Manti and his male friend flirting with one another via Twitter. The friend’s avatar was that woman’s image, along with the made-up female name. So was this all done merely as Heisman bait, or as a way for Manti to be “Twitter official”-adjacent with his boyfriend?

    540 chars

  64. Sherri said on January 17, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    One reason that I think that Te’o is in on the hoax is that he’s supposedly being duped by another Samoan. The American Samoan community in the US is really tight. While I can believe that a Samoan would do that to another, I can’t believe that he could have kept it up for that long without word getting around in the community and serious consequences being brought to bear (as in, Tuiasosopo getting the shit beat out of him.) There was a lot of pride for Te’o among the Polynesian community in the US.

    505 chars

  65. Charlotte said on January 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    So — the question of the day — is Lance grateful or angry that Te’o is stealing his spotlight?

    96 chars

  66. Dorothy said on January 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, JWfromNJ, but I think that a variation of that line actually originated with Seth Myers of SNL?

    120 chars

  67. Kim said on January 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    It was the City News Bureau and it closed in 1999 after more than 100 years as a news co-op. Thing about that phrase is reporters used to just check on stuff, not accept as truth whatever came out of a person’s mouth. Not that Kass is like that, so I get your point Bitter S.

    I agree with the gay angle but the beginning does read more than a little “Catfish,” for those of you who have seen the film. Which may be why every sports reporter out there bought it.

    People are weird. Thank God.

    496 chars

  68. A.Riley said on January 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    “If your mother says she loves you, check it out,” comes from City News Bureau in Chicago. Kass never worked there.

    Whether or not Te’o’s gay is none of my business, but I could see a kid from the sticks getting scared out of his wits by all those very pretty, very flossy Notre Dame and St. Mary’s girls from the prettier, flossier Chicago suburbs (who’d just love to have a Theisman finalist in their diaries) and deciding he’s got to figure out a way to get them to back off. And it all went downhill from there.

    519 chars

  69. Danny said on January 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I know you folks in the news biz have had trouble making ends meet these past few years:


    Nance, anything you want to tell us? They say that confession is good for the soul.

    285 chars

  70. Sherri said on January 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Here’s Pete Thamel’s (of SI) interview with Te’o before he wrote a cover story about him for the Oct. 1 issue. Read what Te’o said about his fictitious dead girlfriend in his own words and see if you think he was the duper or the duped:


    365 chars

  71. Prospero said on January 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Nancy @13: How about a rowdy Catholic kid that played football at BYU. Jim McMahon went four years at Bigot Young without drinking or screwing? Yeah, right.

    156 chars

  72. KLG said on January 17, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    The “Albomic spine” is as imaginary as the girlfriend.

    54 chars

  73. Prospero said on January 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Sherri @70: Oh how I wish that had been Rick Reilley.

    John Kass is a Mike Barnacle wannabe. Why would anybody wannabe a plagiarist fabricator?

    Oh, and that Pete Thamel that apotheosized Manti Te’o, he was already in for more than a dollar on Tyronne “Honey Badger” Matthieu:


    What a tool.

    425 chars

  74. Deborah said on January 17, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I don’t know what to say about this story, when I read the articles it all sound so fake. I mean who talks about God in conversation as “heavenly father”? I don’t read the sports page or pay any attention to sports. I never even heard about this kid until today on nn.c. It just sounds like a bunch of hooey from beginning to end. Everyone of them seems to be making it up. Who cares about it? I sure don’t.

    407 chars

  75. Sherri said on January 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Notre Dame more concerned about fictitious dead girlfriend than real dead sexual assault victim? http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/christinebrennan/2013/01/17/manti-teo-notre-dame-lizzy-seeberg/1843131/

    205 chars

  76. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Heavenly Father is the standard form of address used by Latter Day Saints, aka Mormons. They use that two word phrase the way I might say God; it’s intended by them as a reminder of the personal relationship each LDS member has “with Heavenly Father” — often not using “our heavenly Father” where other religious folk might, because of the distance that implies. Mormons are very interested in emphasizing their closeness to God, and they would say (politely) that much of the God-language the rest of us God-botherers use makes it sound like God is far off, distant, and unconcerned.

    Of course, it also ties into the LDS belief that Heavenly Father is, in a sense, their actual father, or great-grandfather multiply removed, yet immediately involved with us. And that a father of a family where the marriage is sealed in a Temple, and through their children raised up in the LDS faith, will in time become Heavenly Father of a cosmos of their own, husband and wife continuing through eternity to produce spiritual children in their own universe of divinity.

    As Joseph Smith puts it in the 1843 King Follett sermon, albeit rephrased for modern ears by a later General Authority, “As we are, God once was; as God is, so we shall be.”

    1239 chars

  77. Sherri said on January 17, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Hey Pros, your Boston Globe didn’t take so well to getting pwoned by Deadspin over the Te’o story: http://bostinno.com/2013/01/17/boston-globe-takes-cheap-shot-at-deadspin/

    172 chars

  78. Deborah said on January 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Thanks Jeff, who knew?

    22 chars

  79. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 17, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Hey, that’s the kind of stuff I’m on staff for. That, and if your kids get tangled up in the juvenile court system (hint: stay away from heroin and sending phone pics of private parts to current sweethearts).

    But glad to illumine the varieties of religious experience for everyone until William James gets back from sabbatical!

    330 chars

  80. brian stouder said on January 17, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Say – I forwarded Nancy’s link for the Martin Luther insult generator to several friends who all work at the University of Saint Francis….and they responded with this:


    which is Shakespearean trash talkin’…. and the following sampling got me laughing:

    Thou infectious reeling-ripe wagtail!

    [Thou art] a fusty nut with no kernel!

    Thou loggerheaded guts-griping mammet!

    and especially:

    You starvelling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish–O for breath to utter what is like thee!-you tailor’s-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck!

    685 chars

  81. brian stouder said on January 17, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    (Don’t know what a ‘bull’s pizzle’ is, but maybe Cooz can tell us, in his next artistic/lyrical offering)

    105 chars

  82. Catherine said on January 17, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    I’ve always fallen back on, “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.” But yes, Shakespeare, too.

    121 chars

  83. Sherri said on January 17, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    I enjoy drinking tea out of this: http://www.upgnation.com/Shakespearean-Insults-Mug.html

    89 chars

  84. Brandon said on January 18, 2013 at 12:47 am

    I realized soon after logging off that Hattie, another commenter, lives in Hawaii. My bad!

    The Manti Te`o story made the front page of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and its website has many stories, including this:

    319 chars

  85. Prospero said on January 18, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Right, Deadspin is well regarded as a bastion of journalistic standards. Another blogger says suggesting otherwise is a “cheap shot”.

    133 chars

  86. LAMary said on January 18, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Brian. A bull’s pizzle is his penis. They sell dessicated pizzles in Petco as doggy chew toys. I don’t buy them.

    112 chars

  87. nancy said on January 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Gene Weingarten wrote once of buying a chew toy called a Pizzle Stick for one of his dogs, and his daughter, who is a vet, explaining it to him later.

    I believe in using all parts of the animal as a way of honoring its sacrifice, but oh, the lost dignity of it all.

    269 chars

  88. David C. said on January 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Same to you, mofo.


    GOP speaker of Kansas House prays for Obama’s death, calls First Lady “Mrs. YoMama”

    One can only wonder how THIS PERSON ever attained a position of power in the Kansas State Legislature:

    The Republican speaker of the Kansas statehouse issued an apology this week after sending emails from his personal account referring to First Lady Michelle Obama as “Mrs. YoMama” and quoting a Bible verse cited by some as a reference to presidential assassination.

    Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal [above], from the city of Hutchison, sent an email before Christmas that compared the president’s wife to the Dr. Seuss character The Grinch, with a tagline asking: “Twins separated at birth?”

    “I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Mrs. YoMama a wonderful, long Hawaii Christmas vacation — at our expense, of course,” the forward read.

    In another of O’Neal’s emails, he referenced Psalm 109 from the Old Testament, which reads in part:

    May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.

    May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes.

    May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.

    May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children.

    1441 chars