And now perhaps we know why linebacker Manti Te’o has chosen to remain silent for now.
Before he speaks, his handlers need to delve into every nook and cranny of every thing that he or someone in his family said about the situation, so that he’ll be ready for the questions he inevitably faces — from whoever asks them.
Here’s a nook and/or cranny that will open up yet another delicate line of questions. According to WSBT-TV, Te’o made reference to his dead girlfriend two days after the day he supposedly learned of the hoax.
“I don’t like cancer at all. I lost both my grandparents and my girlfriend to cancer,” Te’o said on December 8, while talking to reporters in advance of the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
On Wednesday, Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said Te’o learned of the hoax on December 6, while he was attending the ESPN college football awards ceremony in Orlando.
Before Te’o speaks, his people need to find every comment that he or anyone in his family has made that will be fodder for interview questions, so that he can be prepared to answer the questions.
This doesn’t mean he’s not telling the truth. Lawyers routinely prepare witnesses to testify by sharing with them all prior statements that they have made, so that they will be careful to tell a consistent and cohesive story. Plenty of people who tell the truth will from time to time misspeak. Good, thorough preparation protects against that.
Even with good preparation, Te’o has to be able to pull it off. The fact that there’s no indication as to when he’ll be talking suggests that Te’o’s people are concerned that it could be too much for him to juggle verbally and mentally, in an inherently stressful situation.