I have not been following this young man's football career at Notre Dame and quite frankly, know nothing of him but the stories coming to light about his involvement in what is apparently an elaborate hoax with an alleged death and more is... intriguing to say the least.
Yet, he does have his defenders and they seem more than credible to me.
What follows are excerpts of a press conference held by Notre Dame's Vice President and Director of Athletics, Jack Swarbrick and quite frankly, he's giving a perspective I'm not hearing from sports media:
My focus here tonight is to talk to you about what the University knew, when we knew it, and what decisions we made based on that information. Much of what drove that process and those decisions relates in part to a fundamental view of the importance of student privacy, and that will likely play a role tonight also because, at the end of the day, this is Manti's story to tell and we believe he should have the right to tell it, which he is going to do.
So there may be some questions this evening which I defer to him, but I will try to be as responsive as I possibly can to all of your questions.
While we still don't know all of the dimensions of this and other than the perpetrators, I can assure you that no one knows all of the dimensions of this there are certain things that I feel confident we do know. The first is that this was a very elaborate, very sophisticated hoax perpetrated for reasons we can't fully understand but had a certain cruelty at its core, based on the exchanges that we were able to see between some of the people who perpetrated it.
Manti was the victim of that hoax. Manti is the victim of that hoax, and he will carry that with him for a while.
In many ways, Manti was the perfect mark because he is a guy who is so willing to believe in others and so ready to help that, as this hoax played out in a way that called upon those tendencies of Manti and roped him more and more into the trap. He was not a person who would have a second thought about offering his assistance and help in engaging fully.
Finally and reflective of that, I want to stress, as someone who has probably been as engaged in this as anyone in the past couple of weeks, that nothing about what I have learned has shaken my faith in Manti Te'o one iota. The same great young man, great student, and great athlete that we have been so proud to have be a member of our family is the same guy tonight, unchanged in any way, except for, as he indicated in a statement in his release, the embarrassment associated with having been a victim in this case.
Manti lives his life on his sleeve, and he is out there. As I said earlier and I don't think this was an accident they understood, given the nature, the extraordinary nature of this man, the more trouble she was in car accident, diagnosis of leukemia, failing health the more engaged he would become, the more focused he would become, and the more dedicated he would become, and that's exactly what happened here. And for those who are suspicious that that can happen in sort of a virtual environment, I think there are a lot of examples out there that suggest otherwise. I mean, this documentary chronicles one of them, but as we've gotten into this, I've been surprised to learn the frequency with which it exists and the cautionary tale it affords to those same young people. The people who will be least skeptical of this are the people who live their life in the social media as an important component of it. Skepticism probably increases with age, but it's harder for those of us who aren't fully engaged in that medium to understand how it can be used to this effect.
I really think the entire thing needs to be read... and once done, ask yourself if your view of this story changes at all.