Te’o

Call me a sucker, but I’m buying Te’o’s story. I’m buying it for the same reason that I don’t buy all the stories that talk about all the hooking up that high school and college students do. It’s because high school and college students lie and exaggerate about their sexual exploits. Raise your hand if you didn’t. Exactly. I had imaginary friends. It’s part of growing up. I know we think that most college athletes are playboys and girls living a life of debauchery.  But at least some of them are quite the opposite–coddled, insulated from the rest of life, protected by family and close friends, and with almost no ‘real-world’ experience. Now, I know nothing about Te’o. No more than what we are all reading. But I think it’s quite possible that he’s incredibly immature in the world of life; he got caught up in something, he made it seem bigger than it was, and then when it turned out he was a fool, he tried to lie to protect himself.

It disappoints me that Bill Simmons wants to play along with the gay card on this. Again, I don’t doubt plenty of people have to–sadly–make up lives for themselves to cover other aspects of themselves. Sports, particularly male sports, doesn’t provide much space to be anything but extremely heterosexual. But we’re going there way too fast. There’s another more sensible interpretation of this, and I’m going with what Te’o is saying.  (And to those who say–well, why did he keep talking about her? What else is he going to do? It’s that, or admit she doesn’t exist.)

Chuck Klosterman made a perceptive point in a grantland conversation with Malcolm Gladwell.  “The only things we know about “The Real Manti Te’o” are (a) what the media tells us, and (b) what he says about himself in public. We don’t really view him as a person; he’s more like a movie character who happens to exist in reality (and his words and actions are the plot of the film). As a result, our feelings about him tend to be devoid of nuance. We only know a handful of things about who he is, so that handful gets amplified. He becomes a metaphor for his actions. So we’re not passing judgment on him, even though that’s what it looks like; we’re really passing judgment on the act itself (by directing our vitriol at the individual). In other words, if someone changes their personal opinion on Te’o (or Lance Armstrong) in the wake of new evidence, they’re really just positioning themselves as being “against” the specific sin of lying to the public. It’s only tangentially related to the man himself.”

Good point–but we could go further. It’s funny that we are all attacking Te’o for coming to a stupid conclusion about someone who he didn’t really know over the internet; all the while we all feel absolutely free to make our own conclusions about Te’o, someone we don’t know at all, based on what we are reading on the internet.

In other news, I’m really excited to see KG and Rondo in the starting 5 with D-Wade, LeBron, and Carmelo.

If the Celtics could trade Pierce and get Josh Smith, do you do it?  I don’t think they should break this team up. But they need a more reliable scoring option. The Truth is still the truth every 5th game; but when he’s off, they really lack options.  I’m ok sticking with him. I’m loyal. He deserves it. But this team would also improve with another more consistent scoring option. (I’m still hopeful that Jason Terry will be more of that, and if only Jeff Green could score 12 points a game consistently…)

Peter Odemwingie scored the tying goal for West Brom today. After taking an incredible number of shots that missed the goal by many tens of feet, all the while almost never looking for a charging teammate.  I haven’t seen a performance like that since watching Metta World Peace play in offensive sets for the Lakers.

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