English: Photo of Notre Dame linebacker Manti ...

Manti Te’o

Last week I was going to write this, but with the Lance Armstrong story breaking, and being a cancer survivor myself, that story took precedence over the big news story that was simply a made up one.

Oh yes…then there is Manti Te’o.

Teo’s story is already added some phraseology to the ever changing slang dictionary we utilize in American culture. We have arguably the largest hoax in the history of college athletics in what I am and others like to refer to as Te’ogate. This is now better known now as a “catfishing” scheme.

For those who have been hiding under a rock (much like an actual catfish would) the term Catfishing is based on the title of the 2010 documentary Catfish — which is also the name of an MTV show that is based on the movie. The purpose of the show is to expose actual hoaxes that take place on line. Although I have never watched the show personally, I have to believe ratings after this past week are now at an all-time high.

So, the story basically goes like this – Star Football player from close knit family rises to success, leads the team that you either love or hate (Notre Dame) and is mentioned in the Heisman trophy talk. He has the perfect on-line relationship with a girl, life is good, then he loses his beloved grandmother and girlfriend almost simultaneously. He manages to overcome this great tragedy and continue to play out the remainder of the season and lead the Fighting Irish to an undefeated record in the regular season, despite all of these off the field events.

What is most amazing to me about the entire Te’o situation is that you would have figured in South Bend, someone would have done some homework on this a little more once the stories came out.

If this would have occurred in my beloved Lincoln, Nebraska, the home of the Huskers, it would have been the biggest news story of the year. Now mind you there is little to no crime in Lincoln, and it is a college community. So if you have the star football player, lose his beloved grandmother, as well as a girlfriend to a disease such as cancer in the span of a mere few to 48 hours (depends on what report you DO believe) one would think that the newspapers, radio personalities, and local news stations would be asking a lot of questions. They would be asking for comments from the family, ask to speak to the mom and dad of the deceased girlfriend, get reactions from friends and acquaintances.

This is what happens when a non-major news event happens in this sound-byte hungry town, at least when a football player is involved.

The biggest irony in this entire situation is that the media is asking all of the questions now. What did Te’o really know? Was he victim or willing participant? They produce various copies of interviews, stories that we now know were made up including his parents indicating they met the young lady. The timelines seem to crisscross all over the place – which in turn just creates more questions.

So how did this go so unnoticed for so long? Why were NONE of these questions asked earlier, how could so many media faces miss the easy questions that needed to be asked or at least investigated.

Now the journalists pile on and raise all of their questions because this story has turned bizarre, and makes for just as good if not better news than if the original story would have in fact all been true.

Lest we forget it was these same major news and sports broadcasting stations – national journalists that all added and put this tragic tale of woe on a pedestal for all to hear and read.

Shame on all of you…..

Next time check your basic facts. Last time I checked that is something they taught you in Journalism 101…

At the end of the day we were not duped by Manti Te’o or the ‘catfishing scheme. No, instead the American public believes what they were told to believe.

And as a parting shot – – fellow lemmings, remember to do your homework. After all, it is what you tell your kids every night when they come home from school.

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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