The term “Catfish” does not simply refer to the finned creatures with whiskers that live under the sea anymore. The word has since taken on a new definition that has to do with people who create false identities through social media for deceptive purposes. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networking sites, much of our communication with others is done sans physical interaction. Even calling someone over the phone has been reduced to text messaging. The lack of personally connecting with someone face-to-face is bound to have its downfalls and consequences.
Enter Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. A gullible victim of catfish? Or a shady attention seeker trying to win a sympathy vote?
I’ve been following this story ever since Te'o announced the passing of his grandmother, and cancer stricken girlfriend, Lennay Kekua on September 12th, 2012. Much like everyone else who heard the reveal in that ESPN interview, my heart went out to him for his loss. Fast forward four months later, and my outlook on the situation has done a complete 180. The details of this saga have my head spinning. Trying to keep up with all the latest has me feeling like a private investigator. After reading countless articles and re-reading interview transcripts, I can honestly say I’m stumped.
Te’o’s statement that he denies any involvement in the hoax is sketchy, regardless of if he’s guilty or not. Whether he did or did not know about the prank, it still says a lot about his character. If he is innocent, meaning he was simply a victim of this debacle, then it is safe to say he is gullible and immature to say the least. How can you speak to someone for three years without even meeting them? Furthermore, how can you speak to a woman on the phone every night while she is attached to a breathing tube, but not go visit her once in the hospital? The story has way too many loopholes. However, if the evidence doesn’t add up for you and you believe he is guilty, then you can chalk him up as a shady, manipulative, pathological psychopath. Plain and simple.
As more details come to the surface, it may be easier to pick one side or the other. But for now, I have my guard up with Manti Te’o, and think the NFL, along with the rest of the world should too.