Friday, January 18, 2013

Sports Speculation

I have to admit, when I first heard this story on NPR about the Notre Dame player whose grandmother and girlfriend had died only to learn that the girlfriend never really existed, I immediately thought: I wonder of he was gay and trying to cover it up.  Then I thought, well then why come out and say she died.  Won't this draw too much attention to the imaginary girlfriend?  Apparently, I was not the only one to wonder about Manti Te'o's sexuality.

If you aren't familiar with the whole saga, here is a brief summary of the events:
On September 11, 2012, Te'o said that he suffered the loss of both his grandmother and girlfriend within the span of one day. Te'o told many media outlets that his girlfriend, Stanford student Lennay Kekua, endured a car accident and died after battling leukemia. Deadspin reporters conducted an investigation and on January 16, 2013, published a story that said they found no record of a woman named Lennay Kekua and that the story of her death was a hoax. According to the report, the pictures published in the media supposedly of Kekua were actually taken of a friend of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a friend of Te'o's. Te'o did not miss any games, saying that he had previously promised Kekua that he would play even if something had happened to her.Notre Dame addressed the story on January 16. The university said in a statement that "Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia." In a press conference, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrickconfirmed the university had hired private investigators to uncover the source of the hoax, and he clarified that Te'o's relationship with Kekua was "exclusively an online relationship". This conflicts with Te'o's previous accounts of their relationship, which say they had met after a football game and that she visited him in Hawaii. Swarbrick said that Te'o informed Notre Dame of the situation on December 26th. He said he had received a call on December 6, 2012 while in Florida at an ESPN awards show, from the woman he knew to be Kekua claiming she was still alive. Despite the revelation that Kekua did not exist, former NFL player Reagan Maui'a claims to have met a woman who called herself Lennay Kekua in American Samoa in 2011. Maui'a said he was introduced to her through Tuiasosopo.

Manti Te'o Gay? Girlfriend Hoax Leads To Speculation On Sexuality Of Notre Dame Star

The bombshell exposed Wednesday by Deadspin reporters rocked the sporting world with revelations of an elaborate hoax involving Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o and the tragic passing of his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua. As Deadspin revealed, she never existed. In the aftermath, Te'o has claimed he was the victim of a hoax, but the bizarre tale has led some to wonder if Te'o was attempting to hide a different secret--his sexuality.

On The LaVar Arrington Show, Arrington, a former NFL player, and co-host Chad Dukes referenced the possibility of Te'o being closeted as they tried to figure out what possible motivation could have led him to participate in or fall for such a hoax.

"Let's hypothesize, he's gay," said Dukes. "He is a star football, college football player, with beautiful chicks surrounding him, propositioning him all the time with all kinds of media asking him 'Are you dating chicks? Do you have a girlfriend?' all the time."

Arrington responded, "Is that the only sensible way of looking at this?"

"If he's in on it, I can't.. I don't.. maybe there is other reasons but it makes a lot of sense," answered Dukes.

CLICK HERE to listen to a portion of the radio segment.

In his breakdown of the many questions raised by this scandal, Clay Travis of Outkick The Coverage wrote that this hoax originating in Te'o's desire to remain in the closet "is actually the only story that makes any sense at all."
This is actually the only story that makes any sense at all. And even if it's true, Te'o will probably deny it because, unfortunately, football players aren't exactly the most welcoming of homosexuality.
Before Deadspin uncovered the fabrication, Te'o's season had been billed as an inspirational story of epic proportions. Te'o, a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, led his team to a 20-3 victory over Michigan State mere hours after learning of the death of both his grandmother and girlfriend. But on Wednesday, the tale unraveled. There had been no girlfriend--she had never died, and no one with that name even existed.

As Te'o and Notre Dame issued breathless explanations, the rest of the world continued asking various questions? Is Te'o the gullible victim of an extremely elaborate ruse as he claims? Could the Heisman finalist have been complicit in the hoax as a Deadspin source suggested? Or perhaps, Te'o, a devout Mormon, had invented the girlfriend to disguise an aspect of his life he was too scared to share with his teammates and friends?

Cyd Zeigler Jr. at OutSports commented on the widespread speculationthat perhaps the football player was gay.
We've seen rumors and heard stories about countless athletes in the past. But not since Troy Aikman have I been bombarded on email, text, Twitter and phone calls about the sexual orientation of any athlete the way I was today about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.
Similarly, Slade Sohmer at HyperVocal ran down some of the Te'o's possible motivations for creating a fake, long distance sweetheart.
A devout Mormon at a Catholic school, a rugged football player — these are communities that openly reject homosexuality, some of the last remaining vestiges of the decaying closet.
Sohmer has a point. There has never been an openly gay football player in the NFL, or in the NBA or MLB for that matter.

In a January interview with the Daily Beast, Wade Davis, a former NFL player who came out after he retired, said it was just easier for him to hide his sexuality, "as long as you're denying it to yourself it's not really real."

Wade said that currently, the attitude is that you're a "gay player who can pass" then that's the better option. And if they can't hide it, they have a good chance of being "weeded out" in high school or the college level, like Te'o.

"I think the real issue is that the idea that a gay man could play sports is an attack to straight guys' masculinity," Davis said. "This gay guy can play my sport better than me? What does that say about me as a straight guy?"


silvereagle said...

There is definitely something being hidden by the young player. One lie lead to another until finally his girlfriend was dead as well as his grandmother. But, there apparently was no girlfriend. What was being concealed we do not know for sure, but the suspicion of gayness would certainly be believeable. I think that he may be 'done in' by this. Too bad.

SEAN said...

I don't care about why the reasons why or who was or wan't involved but I will answer the last question, "It says that he was a better football player and that is all. Well maybe he sucks dick better too."

Anonymous said...

I honestly couldn't care less about motivations - in some way, he allowed himself to be pulled into, or actively perpetrated a hoax. He's an adult - young, yes, but an adult. USE YOUR FRICKING BRAIN!!!

No sorrow here if he disappears tomorrow, never to be heard from again.

Peace <3