Manti Te'o, Lance Armstrong and the house of lies

Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o give us the craziest week in the history of sports. Photo: Manti Te'o, victim of a hoax? AP

OKLAHOMA CITY, January 17, 2013 — We are in the third week of January. Only three weeks into the year we call 2013 and already we have Lance Armstrong coming clean to Oprah about doping and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o story that can only be described as the craziest story I have ever heard.

The bizarre Te’o story involves an imaginary, online girlfriend named Lennay Kekua who then died of leukemia. Let’s start off by giving Te’o the benefit of the doubt by accepting his statement as fact that he was the victim of a cruel joke.

It’s not unheard of for someone to have a relationship with another person solely online. There was a documentary and a current TV show called “Catfish” where this very thing happens. I’m just saying it’s possible.

The Te’o story might be the best thing that ever happened to Armstrong.

Now the other side of the coin. What 22-year-old isn’t dialing up Skype to chat with this girl? Have you seen the pictures? Who wouldn’t want to get a better look at her?

The elephant in the room here, that no one seems to be mentioning, is that Te’o is a devout Mormon. Mormons are very moral people who discourage any consumption of alcohol or tobacco, lying and even drinking caffeine. 

Some believe Te’o was duped, some believe he knew about it. If you look at his interviews about his supposed girlfriend, however, a lot of his quotes don’t add up.

As usual, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. He was tricked into believing this girl was real. As the story of her death grew legs, Te’o started to embellish it a bit and it got out of control before he realized it was all a joke.

Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France an unprecedented seven times. Photo: Wikipedia.

 

Now what does Te’o have to do with Armstrong? Even if Te’o is telling the truth we have been conditioned to think he’s lying because there have been too many examples of athletes denying what they have been accused of. Most notably the baseball steroid scandal, and more recently the Lance Armstrong saga.

Last Friday, if you were strolling along the Grove in Los Angeles and happened upon the set of the entertainment magazine show “Extra,” you would have seen former Major League Baseball star Pete Rose and his fiancé Kiana Kim there to promote their new reality program premiering on TLC.

The complete interview didn’t air, but one subject that was interesting was about Armstrong. To put this in context for those of you who don’t know, Rose was banned from baseball for life for betting on baseball, thus keeping him out of the Hall of Fame even though he is the all-time hits leader. 

Rose lied for many years about his gambling involvement and admits that he may never see the ban lifted. Lopez then asked what advice he would give to Armstrong? Rose’s answer was to come clean quickly.

We are a forgiving society. Some things that our athletes have been in trouble for are now long forgotten as long as you apologize and move on. Kobe Bryant has one of the highest selling jerseys in the NBA. Michael Vick has a job in the NFL (for now). Ray Lewis is being celebrated for his last games as an NFL player. 

Is Rose more famous now, keeping himself relevant because his gambling problem has prevented him from being in the Baseball Hall of Fame? Know of any other former players that have their own reality show?

So now we have Armstrong, who has been accused of involvement in a doping scandal. Who better to ask about what he should do than a disgraced baseball player?

What have we learned from all of this? It’s probably to take Rose’s advice. We will probably forgive Armstrong as we have forgiven the others. 

If Te’o is lying about how much he was involved in this hoax it would be wise heed Rose’s advice and “come clean quick.” As embarrassing as it would be, it would do him more good to get it out of the way and pray for forgiveness.


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Jason Black

Jason Black is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he recieved a B.A. in Journalism.  While at OU he served as Sports Director for the University television station.  He has recieved multiple awards for public speaking and comedy.

He appears weekly on 18 radio stations across the country and also writes for the magazine distinctly Oklahoma.

Growing and living in Oklahoma for almost his entire life, Jason has a passion for all sports mixed with a little pop culture.

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