Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Mind is a Creative Thing. Sabotage Isn't.

It's not very often that I do this, but dang it, I'm calling out the sports media outlets on this crap.

Yesterday, news broke about an alleged "hoax" that had occurred. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was a part of this story where his Stanford girlfriend Lennay Kakua, who had supposedly died of leukemia, never actually existed. While there are numerous speculations stating that there were various people that had set up this long-distance relationship between Te'o and Kakua, pictures were fabricated, and people and locations were faked.

And because of this, the media is blowing up over the whole situation.

People are calling Te'o crazy and idiotic for even falling for a trick like this, and they're even going so far as to speculating on whether Te'o was actually in on the hoax or not. The reason for that is there are conflicting reports saying that Te'o had actually met Kekua after a football game. However, there have been confirmations stating that there are no records of a woman named Lennay Kekua ever existing.
If I was confused while writing this, you know this is bad.
Alright, I understand that we need news, but do we have to do it and increase the level of confusion? Why are we making this bigger than it should be? It's a known fact that online relationships are a hot commodity at this time, and people can often be the victims of being bamboozled and fooled by idiots posing to be someone else. People get upset when a registered sex offender poses as a young boy to win an insecure girl over on the Internet, but it suddenly turns into a madhouse when it involves a well-known athlete. There probably is a slight difference between the two examples, but right now, I really don't feel like delving into the two separately.

What makes me shake my head is that sports media outlets are trying to put a sports-related spin on this. They're trying to, but it's to no avail. This isn't a sports story--it's a story of general human interest. Just because it involves a college athlete doesn't mean you can put a relation of sports onto it. It's not like he was in a relationship with a nonexistent college field hockey player or a former cheerleader or something. This is just an all-too-common case of identity fraud, and Manti Te'o was acting in a completely human fashion over a character that can be identified with.

This is what makes social media such a dangerous tool. You can be anyone you want to be, and once you screw up, it almost becomes a federal case with the media, especially if you're a somebody in either the sports or entertainment world. I genuinely feel bad for Te'o. This is something that should just be handled by himself and the Notre Dame football crew (they apparently began this investigation, by the way). It doesn't need the media's help in blowing it up and sensationalizing it. The whole world doesn't need to know that he was a victim of this stuff. It was something that didn't exactly affect his game play (he didn't miss any games from the supposed "death"), and it's a hoax that is currently under investigation. Because the case is still under investigation, that means that there is no concrete information about the matter and nobody should be drawing conclusions about it. The media is going to do it anyway because they can, and as long as people listen to it, we're going to get so badly tangled in a rope of lies by the time the truth comes out.

Did we notice that I barely typed out a full-fledged story about what was going on? That is all we know right now. They fact that stories are being made up at Te'o's expense is horrendous and a pure example of sabotage of one's character and college career. Of course, the news broke on Deadspin, but what came from that was a widespread abuse of storytelling. People are gonna joke about it through pictures on Twitter and stuff, but it should just be left at that. Whatever is said is going to be joked about, but when it's sold as news, that's a whole other story. I'm not a fan of it.

Hopefully the stuff between Notre Dame and Manti Te'o is straightened out soon enough. Then, they can go find that person who started the hoax and let Te'o tackle the sucker.



MrsJenB said...

Actually, while I agree that this is silly and over-blown, the sports spin is "Was he aware that this was a hoax, did he perpetrate it, and was it used as a way to up his profile during the Heisman voting process". And yeah, that's kind of a big deal. Because I'll tell you, the second his name was mentioned in relation to the championship game, and as soon as I heard a snippet of this story last night, I knew exactly who they were talking about because I remembered hearing about him on the news prior to the Heisman being awarded. And I think you know that I certainly don't follow college football.

The Sports Nut Blogs said...

At the same time, however, there's that mystery of why Notre Dame's football squad intervened when they did. If the hoax was to help him along with the Heisman voting, they would have kept their hands clean of this by addressing that they had nothing to do with it. Because they're involved as much as they are with the investigation, it makes you wonder.