New media>Old media. ESPN got a tip from Manti Teo’s agent about the hoax a day before Deadspin.com did, but ultimately were left wringing their hands and worrying about what to do while Deadspin got the scoop. (His agent? Does he really think this will somehow boost Te’s chances in the draft?) According to an account in the New York Times, ESPN wanted to get an interview with Te’o to get his reaction before publishing, which caused the delay. In other words, ESPN did the old school thing, waiting to be sure, and Deadspin did the new school thing and just went ahead with it. For what it’s worth, I got my information from the New York Times, but Sports Illustrated beat them to the bunch on this very same story. [New York Times]
I am sharing this story because I am Manti Te’o’s mother. Ever since the hooligans from something called Deadspin told the world that Manti’s dead girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed, everybody’s been talking about my son. They wonder if he’s a fraud. They say he’s a liar. They say it’s his fault Notre Dame laid an egg at the BCS Championship Game. But I understand my son better than anyone else, so I am speaking out here.
First of all, you should know that Lennay isn’t Manti’s first imaginary friend. Manti has always had imaginary friends, from the time he was a very little boy. His first imaginary friend was a rabbit named Heisman. Heisman lasted for a few years. Then he was replaced by an old man and a young man. Their names were Gipper and Rudy. The old one creeped me out a little when Manti talked to him, but I liked Rudy. He seemed to have a lot of moxie. At least for an imaginary friend. In the fourth grade, Manti had his first imaginary girlfriend. Her name was Britney. He liked her so much that sometimes he’d ask me to set a place for her at supper. He’d say, “Would you like some macaroni salad, Britney?” Sometimes he’d put some on her plate and then sneak bites when he thought I didn’t see.
What a lot of people don’t seem to understand is that Manti is a Mormon, and Mormons are very familiar with the concept of imaginary friends. The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, had many, many such friends, including an angel named Moroni. He had to have been imaginary, because who would name an angel Moroni? (Smith also named a city “Nauvoo.” He was terrible with names.) Also, John the Baptist visited Smith. Not to mention God.
But let’s get back to Lennay. I thought she was a very nice girl. She understood about boundaries. My Manti has been very busy this year. Notre Dame is not like other schools, you know. Notre Dame happens to have the highest graduation rate for football players of any FBS college. It’s not like Oklahoma or USC. Manti has to go to his classes. And you know how real girlfriends are, with the insecurity and all the drama. Like, “Oh Manti, you think that Kim Kardashian is hotter than I am, don’t you? It’s all right; I don’t mind. You can admit it.” Something like that can waste a whole afternoon once a girl gets going. And besides his classes, Manti has to get to the gym.
Also? And since I am Manti’s mom, I’m female, so I’m allowed to say this. Some real girlfriends are real trouble. If you try to break up with them, they’ll say you raped them. It happens. An imaginary girlfriend will never do that. Well, I guess she could. But why on earth would she? You’re the one imagining her. Not to mention the ones who “forget” to take the Pill and get pregnant. And think of all the money Manti saved with not buying Lennay jewelry and flashy clothes and vodka that costs $100 a bottle! Not that he drinks, because he’s Mormon. I’m not sure she was. I would hope he would have a Mormon imaginary girlfriend. But she’s his imaginary girlfriend, not mine.
There are probably people out there who think it’s time for Manti to put away childish things like imaginary friends and get a real girlfriend. But what if he did, and that real girlfriend got in a bad car accident and then died of leukemia? He would have to go to that girlfriend’s funeral, even if she had told him not to, told him to keep on playing football. He would have to go even though one of his earlier imaginary friends was named the Gipper. Wouldn’t he? Yes he would. I’m proud of Manti and all he’s done, and I’m grateful to Lennay for being imaginary so she didn’t take up too much of his time and energy, so he could become the most decorated defensive player in college football history and wind up on the cover of Sports Illustrated. You losers at Deadspin are just jealous, because Manti is so talented and you are all a bunch of wannabes, as we say in the islands. As for the rest of you, I think you should all just mind your own business until after the NFL draft.
A former Temple University volleyball player is suing the university, saying she was kicked off the team after complaining that her ex-boyfriend—a member of Temple’s football team—threatened to kill her. Emily Frazer is suing in federal court; she was reportedly on full scholarship during the 2011 volleyball season. Her boyfriend was Andrew Cerett, then a punter for the Owls.
She claims that Cerett, a 6-foot-5-inch punter, also on a full athletic scholarship, assaulted her after she broke up with him in the spring semester of her sophomore year, and that Temple kicked her off the volleyball team and revoked her scholarship after she reported it.
She claims that Cerett was “known by university officials, including football coaching staff, to have psychological issues as well as anger problems … had several altercations with fellow football players … [and had] threatened to harm himself.”
One year later, Frazer says, she was booted from the volleyball team and her full scholarship was revoked.
Frazer claims this was “retaliation by the university for Frazer insisting on Cerett’s discipline.”
If Alabama were playing Oregon or Kansas State in the BCS national championship game, we wouldn’t be reading articles about how Joe from northeast Philly is a third-generation Ducks fan whose father walked through a blizzard to watch the green-and-gold play back in the ‘50s, and how he has scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings and ticket stubs from days of yore.
But since the Crimson Tide will square off with Notre Dame Monday night in south Florida, we have been treated to weeks of the Irish mystique, not to mention the infestation of Fighting Irish fans who have dusted off their hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, bumper stickers to display their love for ND – now that the school is winning big again. Read more »
Pity Poor Penn State. Things finally seemed to be settling down in Happy Valley after the series of body blows the university and its football program took in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and there was even reason to hope: New coach Bill O’Brien had salvaged a potential fiasco and turned the program’s first post-Joe Paterno campaign into a winning season. That success has now made O’Brien attractive to other employers, including Penn State’s home-state NFL neighbor, the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Flynn at the Patriot-News, however, doesn’t think Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is willing to alienate a fan base that overlaps with his own. “Would Lurie want to pay the cost of ticking off an already (and always) surly fan base? There are plenty of Eagles fans who follow Penn State on Saturdays. Should O’Brien leave after just one season, the incredible progress he has made in putting Penn State back together would be blunted.” It’s not like Lurie needs Eagles fans to be any more surly, does he? In related news, Andy Reid apparently didn’t make the trip to Arizona to interview for the vacant Cardinals job. Does that mean he’s going to Kansas City? Do we care anymore? [Patriot-News]
Penn State boasts the largest dues-paying alumni base of any school in the U.S., and one would imagine that many of them are registered voters in the Keystone State. That’s why it makes plenty of sense Gov. Tom Corbett would file a federal antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA on behalf of Penn State, challenging the stiff penalties the organization levied against the school in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. With a re-election run coming next year, Corbett could use the support of the “We Are …” crowd, especially in a blue state. Read more »
Back in late October, the networks dredged up old footage of Notre Dame back Dick Lynch’s end run from 1957 that snapped Oklahoma’s 47-game winning streak. Fans were reminded that the Irish had beaten OU six consecutive times, dating back to that milestone win. ND entered Norman to face the Sooners with a 7-0 record, ready for a major test. It was a huge spot, and Manti Te’o knew just what to do before the game. Read more »
Despite the fact that the Big Ten Conference as a whole is playing poorly and living almost completely off its reputation, a few potholes remain on the Penn State schedule. That visit from Ohio State on Oct. 27 won’t likely be too pleasant, thanks to new coach Urban Meyer’s insistence on running the Buckeyes like an SEC program, rather than a cement-footed Rust Belt outfit. And going to Lincoln on Nov. 10 ought to be a tough challenge, even if OSU shucked the Cornhuskers but good Saturday night. Read more »
If you are looking for one of the best examples of irony in the sausage factory that is big-time college athletics, go directly to Gordon Gee, bow-tied president of THE Ohio State University and a quotation machine. In the spring of 2011, when it became clear that then-Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel had covered up his knowledge of players’ trading memorabilia for cash and prizes, Gee was asked whether he intended to fire Tressel. Read more »
In a 1905 article in McClure’s Magazine, investigative reporter Henry Beach Needham, wrote a sensational article detailing the excesses of college athletics. Among them were a win-at-all-costs attitude, payments made to players, institutional profiteering and a cavalier attitude toward rules that resulted in the serious injury and sometimes death of its participants. Read more »