Greetings, Bearers (and other newcomers)!
In light of my schedule this week, I’m going to be a little tight on time with regard to posting things (bad enough that I’ve had a devil of a time trying to keep the writing up; what is it with my schedule seeming to fight me for time to develop wonderful, elegant prose? ). Anyway, I just wanted to throw some thoughts about Manti Te’o and this whole thing with the “phantom girlfriend.”
I need to start with an honest disclaimer: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Notre Dame fan. On the contrary, since my family and I bleed maize and blue with the rest of the Michigan Wolverine nation, it’s fun in general to see them falter and stumble in sports (Although a part of me was pulling for them to upset Bama just to shut up the pro-SEC crowd). So I don’t exactly come from a viewpoint that clings to all things South Bend-related.
That being said, however, I believe charity should be exercised toward Manti Te’o until any foul play on his part can be discovered. A great many people are disparaging him, saying that this was an act all along for self-promotion in order to get more attention (You might laugh, but such things really do happen. Remember THIS?). Now that’s certainly a possibility, and as I just said it wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened.
But there’s another possibility as well: Te’o could be telling the truth.
College athletes, and football players in particular, are potential celebrities. They have a chance to get under the big lights, and as a result attract other people to them. They attract fans who practically worship them, and sometimes attract other people who are jealous, mean-spirited, or outright hateful concerning them and want to make them look bad (Tom Cruise had this happen in a public forum once, and if I remember correctly he was sprayed with water and referred to the culprit as a jerk. I think THIS is the video clip related to it). So Te’o's claim that this was a joke played upon him (as apparently reinforced by ND officials) is something that’s quite feasible.
Am I saying that Te’o is definitely innocent? Not at all, and if he’s found being complicit in this for something such as self-promotion, shame on him. You do not make yourself look like a better person by lying about things that tug on emotional strings such as making up stories about dead girlfriends (I wonder if people are questioning whether or not his grandmother actually died now?). If he’s guilty of helping to orchestrate this, punish him.
But for now, the evidence seems to be pointing in the direction that this young man was duped. And until it’s proven otherwise, we need to be considerate of that. It’s what every single one of us would want if we were to be in the same position, especially if we know we’re guilty of nothing. The premise of “innocent until proven guilty” is what we believe as Americans, and it’s hypocritical to make exceptions to that axiom based simply upon our feelings.
So until we know otherwise, let’s give Manti Te’o the benefit of the doubt. Slandering him by conjuring up devious and unfounded motives based upon an assumed but unproven guilt does nothing to help him, and it only fills our ears and eyes up with unsubstantiated rumors.
And as is typical of our natures, false rumors tend to linger in our mind much longer than truth, even after truth is confirmed.
Let the truth happen, folks.
See you in the Vein