• Sat, Jan 19 2013

I Go To School With Manti Te’o And I Believe Him

Manti Te'o Notre Dame Football playerI go to Notre Dame, aka recent scandal capital of the nation (sorry Washington and Hollywood).

I know you all are probably thinking I don’t exist. Which would be a natural assumption considering the Internet is a sketchy place these days.

Here’s some Ja Rule and JLo to prove it:

If that throwback to early 2000s greatness doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. But I am a student at Notre Dame, who like all students at Notre Dame follows and loves Notre Dame football.

I also don’t think that Manti Te’o made up his girlfriend Lennay Kekua and here’s why.

Ain’t Nobody got time for that.

Manti Te’o is one of the busiest, if not the busiest, members of ND’s football team. Like all college football programs, there are outrageous time requirements for team members. Here’s a rundown (it’s boring and lengthy so if you feel the need to skip it, I won’t judge you):

- 3 times a week you’re up by 6:45 am, where you then head to lift in the Gug (ND’s athletic center), finish, shower, and eat by 9:30 at which point you go to class.
- After class, which has to end by 2:30 for Notre Dame athletes, you go back to the Gug for position meetings, practice, treatment if you have any injuries, dinner, and then more meetings.
-Then you go home. Where you would probably want to rest, but nah, you go to Notre Dame so it’s time for homework. Then you watch game film. Then you probably eat again, because you wanna get big. Naturally. Now it’s late and you go to bed. Then you do it all over again! And you don’t complain because you get to go to one of the best schools in the country.

So. If you’re a Notre Dame athlete, or really any college athlete, you are busy. BUT, if you are Manti Te’o, this is multiplied by like 10. Because if you are Manti Te’o you are a vital component to Notre Dame’s team and you have to meet with the media at least twice a week. Many Notre Dame athletes would claim you don’t have time for a girlfriend at all and I’m sure if we asked, which we can’t (Brian Kelly, our head coach, might turn purple with rage), they would all agree you certainly don’t have time to elaborately make up a girlfriend.

Ladies

Why create a fake girlfriend if you have plenty of girls who want to date you? TMZ broke the story yesterday about the girl he dated this winter that went to St. Mary’s College. So it’s not like he was doing badly in the ladies department. Also for everyone who would say he only got girls after he rose to national fame, wrong. Manti is an attractive and charismatic guy who did well before all the fame and I’m sure dated around like most college students. What’s different about Manti though is his heart. Super cliché and sappy, I KNOW, but Manti is genuinely a very nice guy who believes the best in everyone. Therefore, if he met a girl online who to most of us would have sounded too good to be true, he wouldn’t have thought that.

PR is meant to promote a person. Here’s the thing about the job of a publicist — they love a good story. So here’s my theory, a publicist hears that Manti has a special friend who is dying. This would be heartbreaking in any circumstance, but it sounds better if she is his girlfriend instead of just a friend. And since he claims to genuinely care for her, this isn’t too far of a stretch to make. So you (you being the publicist) casually say that Manti has a girlfriend. This might not be necessarily true, but it also isn’t necessarily false to your knowledge. With the way people date these ways, the distinction between hooking up, a relationship, whatever, is blurred anyway. The media runs with it, Manti achieves national fame for his story and his talent, it all seems good.

This situation only sucks when she turns out to have never existed. And I truly believe the powers at be at Notre Dame and Manti himself didn’t know that.

No one expected ND to be this good

If you watched the Notre Dame-Alabama game a couple of weeks ago, you might disagree with the idea that Notre Dame was a good football program this year. But one game doesn’t reflect our season! And we were good. Like real good. Other than Ohio State, we were the only top 20 ranked team to go undefeated (and if you don’t follow college football, Ohio State was banned from all BCS games because they broke a shit ton of rules). Which means we were killing it. Here’s the thing though, no one expected us to. Notre Dame has a history of breaking the hearts of their fans on a yearly basis and because of this and a lot of other complex sports-y reasons that I don’t really understand, everyone thought we were going to be bad this year. In fact, Rick Reilly called the Notre Dame football program “irrelevant.” Later on, he apologized and polished our golden helmets. We forgave him.

However, like in every situation, what this comes down to is risk-reward. If Manti couldn’t have known that Notre Dame would have straight up been baller this year — therefore making him more talked about (remember he was already one of the most important players on the team before this year) — the risk of making up a girlfriend would not have yielded a ton of rewards.

So let’s wrap things up with a personal story about Manti. I have been involved with Notre Dame’s Relay for Life (an American Cancer Society event) for a few years now, and the Notre Dame football team is always there. Brian Kelly’s wife previously had breast cancer and because of this, BK requires all football players to stay at Relay for an hour to support the charity. Most players leave after their hour, but Manti Te’o consistently stays nearly all night. He doesn’t walk around with a chip on his shoulder; instead he gets his face painted with little kids and shares stories of loss with other Relay attendees. He’s a good guy. Honestly. In addition, it’s incredibly unfortunate that this situation is reflecting poorly on the other members of Notre Dame’s football team. We have a ton of great guys who did awesome work this year. Let’s not drag them through the mud while the truth behind this hoax comes out.

Until then, Go Irish.

(Photo: Getty)

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