The week in sports: Lies and hoaxes

You could be forgiven if you lost faith in sports this week. Between the Lance Armstrong doping admission and this front page mess of a story, it was a disaster.

Manti Te’o’s Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A Hoax.

Did you enjoy the uplifiting story, the tale of a man who responded to adversity by becoming one of the top players of the game? If so, stop reading.

I linked to this story on a Leftover Links post but I had NO clue it would dominate news feeds for days. What’s the big deal? Now, a denial that Te’o denies he was part of the hoax.

Manti Te’o denies he was part of girlfriend hoax – CNN.com.

Manti Te’o — one of the best defenders this season in college football — defended himself in an ESPN interview, saying there was no way he was part of a hoax involving a deceased girlfriend.

“I wasn’t faking it,” Te’o told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap in an off -camera interview highlighted on the network Friday night. “I wasn’t part of this.”

As he and his team excelled, Te’o told interviewers in September and October that his grandmother and girlfriend — whom he described as a 22-year-old Stanford University student — had died within hours of each other.

The twin losses inspired him to honor them with sterling play on the field, Te’o said. He led his team to a 20-3 routing of Michigan State after he heard the news.

The fairy tale story ended Wednesday when sports website Deadspin published a piece dismissing as a hoax the existence of Te’o’s girlfriend and suggesting he was complicit.

I’m scratching my head with questions. But you know what? Te’o, Te-e-e’o. Daylight come and me wanna go home…

Meanwhile, after years of lying about doping, even SUING people who were actually telling the truth, Lance may not be able to stop lying.

Lance Armstrong May Have Lied to Oprah to Cover Crimes: Investigators – ABC News.

If you wish, you might explain the relevance of this nonsense in the comments. And while you’re at it, you might explain the mystery of idolizing sports figures. It’s a mystery to me.

Be skeptical. As always. In everything.

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  7 comments for “The week in sports: Lies and hoaxes

  1. January 19, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    My brother came over to my house yesterday and asked me, a sports fan, why the Te’o story was all over the news. He didn’t understand how someone pretending to have a girlfriend qualified as real news. I had no answer for him.

    Armstrong’s story is a little more news worthy. As you pointed out, he was very litigious in defending his name and reputation. He was the biggest star ever in the sport of cycling. His fight against testicular cancer, the founding of Livestrong, and his return to dominance after having one of his testicles removed made for a great human interest story.

    • January 19, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      That was a well executed Bellafonte reference btw :)

  2. One Eyed Jack
    January 20, 2013 at 5:32 AM

    Both non-events.

    Dude gets duped by fake on-line persona. Yawn.

    Another athlete admits to doping. Yawn.

    I bet next week a someone famous cheats on their spouse.

    • January 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      I don’t think they are non events. They illustrate how easily and commonly we are fooled.

      • One Eyed Jack
        January 20, 2013 at 6:32 PM

        Perhaps, but events like this are so common, it hardly makes me raise an eyebrow.

        • spookyparadigm
          January 20, 2013 at 8:12 PM

          I don’t think I’d agree on the Manti T’eo one. It’s pretty damn weird. I found it (the original Deadspin article) fascinating as a mystery and investigation. I don’t care at all for professional/”academic” sports, but I was intrigued. And it had elements of power and money that were interesting, without overlay of politics (though everything, even Conan vs. Leno got red-blued, I’m expecting this will soon in some way), and without the nasty aspect of ‘true-crime.’ And frankly, less pathetic than some of the recent sagas in woo-landia that were blatantly obvious lies from the get go.

  3. Haldur
    January 20, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    I’m not a sports fan, and I have not idolized sports heroes since I was a little kid (growing up in the Bronx, I couldn’t help but be a Mickey Mantle fan like my dad). So Lance Armstrong doping, to me, isn’t as shocking as people being surprised by it and feeling let down. Why idolize the sports hero, when there are so many real heroes in the world? Doctors, firefighters, scientists, teachers — these are the people that deserve to be looked up to. Can they be equally imperfect? Of course. But what they do is far more valuable than inspiring someone to become an athlete. They can inspire someone to save lives, or change lives for the better.

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