TELANDER: Every day brings new — and crazy — development in Manti Te’o story
BY RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org January 26, 2013 12:34AM
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o shared his girlfriend-hoax story with Katie Couric, with whom he shares a public-relations agent. | AP
Updated: February 28, 2013 6:43AM
As I type this, I know the voice of Manti Te’o’s dead, nonexistent girlfriend — when the fake female speaker
purportedly was alive — was
spoken by a guy.
I can’t say much more because the clock is ticking. And when it ticks, Te’o — and his people — spin.
Oops! It wasn’t a guy! ABC News says four audio experts have reclaimed that the voice was that of a girl. Likely.
And — you knew it would happen — Dr. Phil is now in the mix. The showbiz shrink will have an ‘‘exclusive’’ interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the apparent mastermind (is that the right word?) behind this whole gone-
What else do I know? Te’o isn’t gay. (He says. To Katie Couric.) The truth will set you free. (Some random tweet.) Notre Dame’s leprechaun is looking for phone sex with a leprechaun-ette. (Made up.)
Oh, and this Tuiasosopo fellow also clowned Miss South Pacific 2007, beauty queen Tessi Tolutau, a few years back. Pretended he was, God, I don’t know, a talking coconut? They never really met (as we used to call human contact), but they talked and texted — girlfriend stuff. Tolutau told the New York Daily News of the faker, who claimed to be a Victoria’s Secret model who dated Mark Sanchez: ‘‘She wrote, ‘I just wanted to know what path I should take for the Miss Tonga pageant.’ ’’
OK, I just returned from a warm bath, followed by sedatives and green chai tea. How great is it to be a sportswriter?
† I GUESS I CAN’T BLAME Te’o for getting a disaster-fixing PR agent, Matthew Hiltzik, who also happens to represent cheerleader-sweet, cute-as-a-puppy TV personality Couric. What can you do when you leave campus and Notre Dame isn’t there to sell your catfish story?
I have only two beefs.
Just as I-feel-your-pain-and-will-hear-your-sins-and-grant-absolution entertainer Oprah Winfrey deserves no credit for having Lance Armstrong on her weepy show to inform us he cheated — his tawdry, sinister, vicious serial cheating already had been documented by oath-taking citizens, competitors, law-enforcement officials, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency — Couric’s ‘‘get’’ of Te’o is as fraudulent as her ultra-white teeth.
It was just a brokered deal between — wink, wink — innocent stars.
Oh, and Hiltzik formerly represented Justin Bieber. Enough said.
† THE NEW YORK KNICKS are worth $1.1 billion, according to a recent Forbes poll. That puts them first among NBA franchises. Next are the Los Angeles Lakers at $1 billion. In third position are the Bulls at $800 million, an increase of $200 million from last season. Without Derrick Rose playing a minute.
Way to go, Jimmy Butler!
† JUST CURIOUS: The NCAA pounces with full weight on any poor collegiate mope who happens to get $20 from a booster or a free tattoo or — God forbid! — tries to sell his likeness on a calendar or make a paid appearance.
But where are those dudes in the Te’o catfishing derby? The lunacy here is manifest, complex and lucrative. Think how much a Heisman Trophy for Notre Dame would have been worth in goodwill, reputation, etc. And the Irish linebacker almost won because of his back story.
Where are you, NCAA? Catfish got your tongue?
† ACTUALLY, THE NCAA might be busy doing something it probably should have done many times in the past: investigating itself.
It seems the crazily huge agency — which is made up, supposedly, of its member institutions, doing only what those colleges and universities want it to do, with no other agenda whatsoever — has gone a little rogue in its rules enforcement.
While uncovering corruption at the University of Miami, with slick, big-talking, Ponzi-scheming, partying-with-athletes booster Nevin Shapiro being the main target, the NCAA sleuths apparently went too far, working some deals that were clearly outside their legal authority. NCAA president Mark Emmert called it ‘‘a very severe issue of improper conduct.’’
The irony of NCAA investigators having no guns, badges, subpoena power or anything much at all except pretty-please power, while checking out things worth millions of dollars or overwhelming amounts of status, is amusing.
It’s actually absurd and ridiculous. And it stems from the notion that big-time, entertainment-driven, money-laden college sports is an amateur thing. Just fun after school. Like clay-making or Cub Scouts. And because it’s just funsy-patty-cake stuff, it doesn’t need real police.
These enforcement dudes
might find out there’s a real jail, however.
† HATS OFF (fedoras, of course) to Bulls players Luol Deng and Joakim Noah for being selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team. The versatile Deng has done it before, but this is new terrain for the hyperactive, still-maturing Noah.
With the recognition, Noah should realize that with his size, long arms and enthusiasm, nobody should beat him to the boards or outhustle him on defense. You play your game close to the rim and know you’re an All-Star? You can own the glass, own the lane.
Noah always has had a touch of Dennis Rodman in him. No, not the wedding dress. The rebounding fool with the silly hair.