Manti Te’o has a man problem, and I’m not sure he will ever be able to fully resolve that problem and have a great NFL career, or even recover enough from this public “hoax” to live up to the promise of his Mormon upbringing.
We don’t know everything about the Mani man problem, but we do know some driblets of information that are humanly disconcerting. Here are a few of the current, mainstream, theories about what went wrong:
1. Some on the internet are suggesting Manti is secretly Gay and that he is hiding his true, male, lover in the guise of a “girlfriend” that he invented so he could freely communicate with his love without bringing suspicion on himself. Since he’s a he-man football player, the theory goes, he cannot be “Gay” and so he has to pretend to be straight. Since he got “caught” in his hoax of a lie, he’s trying not to be forcibly “outed” and he’s scrambling to stay in the closet.
2. Another theory goes that Manti was fooled by a disreputable person who wanted to hurt him by pretending to be his dying girlfriend. This theory, I believe, is the one Manti prefers. He thinks it is better for his manliness to be fooled by events and circumstances that were eternally working against him than to admit he never had a real, live, girlfriend in the flesh.
3. The final theory is that Manti was a full partner in inventing this faux girlfriend scheme in order to enhance his chances for winning the Heisman trophy with a “dying love” sob story to tug at heartstrings. Some sports reporters claim that winning the Heisman leads to $5-10 million in endorsement deals, so Manti was hungry for money and he invented a suffering, car-accident-having, leukemia-ridden, dying, girlfriend to help him win the award. Since he didn’t win the Heisman, he needed a way out of the lie, and here we are now in the midst of trying to cull the truth from the nut.
No matter what happens, the lie put to the truth will hurt Manti in many ways for years to come. He will forever be hounded by questions concerning his integrity and gullibility and honor — and what NFL team wants the Manti sideshow marring their goal to win the SuperBowl? The New York Jets love Tebow-like circus acts, so Manti might find a fitting mesh in the Rex Ryan madness in the Meadowlands.
I really don’t care about the reality of what happened — because none of what happened matters now — the only thing that matters is how will Manti Te-o try to regain his reputation and good name, and I don’t think he ever will because even he admits he was non-prescient and stupid and willfully unknowing… and those are the only good parts of his sorry sob story! The worst is certainly yet to come.