"Chances are I took the wrong turn every time I had a turn to take."
-- Hayes Carll
At what point, after discovering the hoax, do you think Manti Te'o thought it was a wise idea to continue with his fake girlfriend story?
Ponder on that for a moment.
I have heard all kinds of excuses in support of Te'o. Yes, he is just a college kid. He will also turn 22 on Jan. 26.
At 22, we have people fighting for our freedom. They make life and death decisions on a daily basis. Admitting that your touching story was a hoax -- regardless of whether or not you were duped in the beginning -- is not such a difficult decision, let alone one of life or death consequences.
For the sake of argument, let's say he was a victim of a hoax in the beginning, which, at the moment, is what appears to be the case. He still loses all sympathy here, because, after hearing of her bad wreck and eventual death to cancer, he never bothered to visit the person either in the hospital or at her grave. I know girls that are indeed just friends that I'd still manage to find a way to visit under similar circumstances.
And this is the 21st century. We don't have pen pals like we did growing up. Some of you may remember when you could find someone from another country in the back of a youth magazine with whom you could share letters (yes, it was safe back then). Today, we have instant means of communication at our disposal. We have various means of seeing the very face of the person with whom we are speaking, such as Skype or Face Time.
Are we to believe this star college athlete was content talking to a faceless person he had met only briefly three years earlier?
We're softies for a sad story and a love story, or better yet, a sad love story. The tale, along with the fact he was playing at high-profile Notre Dame, probably helped the only better-than-average player win so many postseason awards.
Which is why I believe Te'o owes a truthful explanation and more heartfelt apology before he moves on to playing on Sundays. Playing in such a spotlight is a privilege, and Te'o may have just burned his privilege by scorching our trust. What team would want him now, with all of the media circus sure to follow him wherever he lands?
Oh, that's right, Oakland is still in the league.
Yes, the easy thing here is to jump on Te'o for his big mistake after being duped. It's not the hoax that has the sports world and beyond buzzing about him today, it's how he continued with the lies afterward.
It's like finding several broken eggs in your groceries once you got home, but rather than taking out the trash, you just shoved them into a corner, hoping the problem would just go away. At some point, things begin to stink.
It was an incredibly bad decision for Te'o not to come clean much sooner (Notre Dame officials also have egg on their face for allowing Te'o to carry on with the hoax in the media even after knowing of the situation). He should be -- and is -- paying a mighty price for his lengthy lapse in judgement.
Look no further than Lance Armstrong, who shared the goat-of-the-week award with Te'o with his shallow admission of guilt in taking performance-enhancing drugs while racing to the summit of his sport. I say shallow because Armstrong did not give direct apologies to those he criticized, successfully sued, and basically trampled and spit upon when they acknowledged his cheating. Their lives were somewhat destroyed by Armstrong's actions.
Te'o, meanwhile, may have destroyed his life with his own selfish actions.
By the way, happy birthday Manti. Here's hoping you receive a big helping of humble pie.