The media “catfishing” for a story

Sergio Portela, Managing Editor
February 13, 2013
Filed under Column, Sports, Unnecessary Roughness

If you haven’t heard about the man who was runner up for the Heisman trophy, Manti Te’o has been hoaxed, or at least he says so. The story of the senior linebacker from Notre Dame, who lost his grandmother and, supposedly, his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, six hours later, was heart broken as he played his heart out against Michigan State University. He eventually led number one ranked Notre Dame to the BCS National Championship where they lost to the University of Alabama.

On Jan. 16 2013, the sports blogging website Deadspin broke a story that Te’o’s girlfriend was a hoax and that Te’o may be in on it for publicity. The media world exploded. No one has heard of a story like this. ESPN questioned everything about Te’o. They questioned his character and draft stock, making a huge deal out of the hoax and wasting time looking at all of the red flags in his story, which they should have done in the first place.

ESPN really took this thing to the next level. They had an off-camera interview that was hyped throughout the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks basketball game. The broadcast turned out to be ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap awkwardly talking on camera about the events.

I honestly feel that the media was angered. Why? Because they were fooled. So they blew the story up in Te’o’s face. The media believed Te’o pulled a fast one. They didn’t account for Te’o’s background. He is a Mormon from Hawaii who is very religious and keeps to himself. He seems like the perfect victim to be “catfished.” Instead, they decided to accuse him and make him the biggest butt of a joke for years to come.

Katie Couric even went too far when she asked Te’o if he was a homosexual, a question everyone wanted to ask. But what gives her the right to out a person on national TV? For the most part, homosexual athletes are not well received.

Recently the hoaxer, Roniah Tuiassasopo, went on “Dr. Phill” to say Te’o had nothing to do with the hoax, but his name will forever be a joke due to something that he fell victim to.

Now people will have forgotten everything he has done on the football field, and whatever he does in the future. He will be remembered as the kid who got “catfished,” and not as the Heisman trophy runner-up.  All because of media personnel like Katie Couric, Dr. Phil, and ESPN, who all wanted to boost their ratings at the expense of a guy’s future.


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