Thursday, January 17, 2013

Opinion: Why the Manti Te'o anger?

So...the "Big" news story of the week isn't the economy, isn't Lance Armstrong, isn't the President's gun control measures, rather, it's an apparently mentally ill or incredibly naive now former Notre Dame linebacker.

Yes, it appears that former ND linebacker Manti Te'o made up what can only be called an "Elaborate" hoax, where he told multiple reporters, teammates and friends and family about an alleged "Girlfriend" he was deeply in love with and allegedly died the same day as his grandmother. The only problem, the girlfriend apparently never actually existed.

By now you've heard the story, so we'll spare you the details. Though we will add, they were awfully elaborate...

You can read the original Deadspin story RIGHT HERE

Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage breaks down the fallout exceptionally well RIGHT HERE

There are several parts to this story which are--to say the least "Disturbing".

It appears Te'o, by all accounts an "All-American" linebacker who got consideration for this years Heisman Trophy. And he played well enough in some games this year to win a handful of other awards. And say what you will, the player earned the awards more than the story earned them.

It's seemingly obvious that the kid has some issues. They could be mental, they could be judgement (he's only 21) or he could just be a really creative liar. Heck, it may actually be true that he was part of an incredibly detailed and lengthy hoax perpetrated on him. But the part everyone is forgetting here, these are PROBLEMS that need help. Not derision, not mocking and not anger, no, they need professional mental health.

But rather than concern, rather than trying to get the kid help, everyone turned on him. Everyone. Even his university, rather than just say "This happened and we're getting him help", just helped perpetuate it by spreading more lies.

To read Twitter Wednesday night was almost scary. Grown men, masquerading as Sports Writers and reporters calling him all kinds of ugly names, insulting him and mocking him.

ABC News give us a summary of them RIGHT HERE

And before and of you say "They felt wronged"....well, that's a cop out. Keep in mind, most of you are complicit here for buying in and never questioning this.

It's okay for writers, journalists and others to pass judgement, it's done all the time. But it's the perspective here that's a bit frightening. Rather than report that this happened, they are all just laughing about it, calling the kid names.

Is that not the treatment many of them got as kids in elementary school?

When is it okay to mock a 21-year old with obvious mental health issues or at the very least is amazingly gullible? What makes it okay to make a 21-year old with emotional disconnect problems a national joke?

For those of you older with kids that age, think about that for a minute. Would you want your college age kid to go through this? Or if you ARE that age, how would you feel?

Yeah, sure, I get it. The writers and reporters are upset they were lied to. Well, get real folks, everyone lies to or uses you. Every person you've done a story on has an agenda or message. You might be okay with that most of the time, you might not like it some of the time, but you know it all the time going in.

I've reported stories for over 20-years. I've been wrong and I've been mislead. I've done stories that have turned out to be not true after the fact. And sure, I haven't always been happy about it. But it's part of the game.

But that doesn't give me...or anyone else the license to publicly ridicule the person who deceived me. And that's exactly what's being done here.

Leave the kid alone. Stop doing Hour long ESPN shows about him. He doesn't need to apologize to you. At least not until he apologizes to himself.

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