Like so many other people, places and things, Newport Beach has been sucked into the tornado that is the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax/saga/tragedy/comedy.
Sports fans were whipsawed this week by stories about a hoax involving Te'o, a Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman finalsit. It started when the website Deadspin argued that Te'o didn’t suffer the death of his girlfriend—that she was made up. Rumors quickly spread that Te'o perpetuated the tragic myth to gain sympathy and support as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
Then other media outlets reported that Te'o himself was the victim of what the Heisman Trophy runner-up called a “sick joke,” by a group of people who tricked him into a multi-year online and phone relationship with a fictional woman.
CNN reported: “Jack Swarbrick, director of athletics at Notre Dame, told reporters that Te'o was the victim of an elaborate hoax. ‘And he will carry that with him for a while,’ Swarbrick said.”
It didn’t take long for sleuths, bloggers and reporters to put together a timeline of Te'o’s public statements about his girlfriend, prompting some such as ESPN to not that Te'o told a Newport Beach crowd his tale of Woe in December, weeks after he allegedly discovered she wasn’t dead.
According to ESPN Te'o told Notre Dame officials that he received a phone call on Dec. 6, from his girlfriend claiming that she had faked her death and was still alive yet he continued to play on the public’s sympathies for several more days without acknowledging the hoax. According to The Los Angeles Times, Te'o told a crowd at the Lott Impact Awards on Dec. 9 in Newport Beach that he played a game on the day his girlfriend was buried because, "She made me promise, when it happened, that I would stay and play.”
What do you think? Was the crowd in Newport Beach tricked by Te'o, or was he as much victim as anybody?