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Te’o says hoax didn’t affect his performance in title game

Handout photo of Manti Te'o during an interview with ESPN in Bradenton Reuters

Regardless of whether linebacker Manti Te’o knew or should have known that his fake dead girlfriend was indeed fake and, in turn, not dead, Te’o has opted not to rely on the distraction created by his knowledge of the hoax as an excuse for his subpar performance in the BCS national championship game.

During his interview with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap (I’ve read the entire transcript), Te’o insists that the situation didn’t hamper his play — even after Schaap seemed to try to persuade Te’o to claim that it did.

“I wouldn’t say it affected me,” Te’o initially said.

“I know you don’t want to say it,” Schaap said, demonstrating a previously unknown ability to read minds.  “But how could it not?”

“When you’re stuck in big game like that, you can’t let it affect you, no matter how much it’s weighing on you,” Te’o said.  “In a big game like that, there’s people that depend on you to perform.  And no matter what you’re going through, you need to perform.  So in that case, I can.”

Regardless of what anyone thinks of Te’o’s failure to detect the hoax or his undetermined role (if any) in it, we respect him for not taking advantage of the easy opportunity to blame the missed tackles and otherwise uninspired play on the stress he was experiencing.

Then again, maybe he’s smart enough to realize that he doesn’t have to claim that it affected his play, since so many people are simply assuming it did.  Regardless, we’ve seen too many players in the months preceding the draft look for ways to devise excuses for things that happened on the field; Te’o had a golden opportunity to do just that, and he didn’t.

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22 Responses to “Te’o says hoax didn’t affect his performance in title game”
  1. Stiller43 says: Jan 19, 2013 6:17 PM

    Oh…so he just sucks when he actually faces good talent. Thats way better.

    I pray he doesnt end up on my favorite team.

  2. thestrategyexpert says: Jan 19, 2013 6:17 PM

    Another way to look at it….

    Maybe he was affected and is just showing high character by not making excuses despite it being very convenient. If this guy had other girlfriends you would think that there would be stories about how he’s an unfaithful boyfriend. I don’t know about you but a guy that doesn’t have any time for girls because he is so focused on playing football without excuses sounds like a guy that deserves consideration for being the top pick.

    That being said, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Lions trade down to 10 and then hoping 9 foolish teams invent a reason to be scared of taking this fine young man and player.

  3. tbd3 says: Jan 19, 2013 6:20 PM

    I’m skeptical of pretty much everything this guy says, but I’m glad that he came out and didn’t use this as an excuse. Gotta appreciate the little things…

  4. blacknole08 says: Jan 19, 2013 6:30 PM

    The only thing that affected his play was that Te’o was going up against better competition. Plain and simple. A broken heart will not make an athlete play wore. The fact that he chose not to use that as an excuse despite already knowing what he knew makes me believe that he was hoaxed. He didn’t have a good game in the national spotlight — Big deal — the only thing that should suffer as a result is his draft stock.

    And you talk about respect as if you know what it means. Yet you and many others have already convicted him of something that he may not have even been apart of. Let the man tell his story when he is ready. He doesn’t owe any of us anything. In fact, it was the media who initially took this story and ran with it, forcing the young man to have to keep the story going. Now you guys want to bury him? You guys created this monster!

    Let the man breathe. He lied because he was caught up in it. It’s embarrassing to admit to, and if placed in that position, a lot of us might have done what he did, irregardless of age.

    Thumbs down all you want!

  5. seanx40 says: Jan 19, 2013 6:31 PM

    He is probably correct. Alabama was a vastly superior team. And T’eo was exposed as being too slow to keep up with the big boys. It will be worse in the NFL

  6. thekingdave says: Jan 19, 2013 6:33 PM

    Fine young man and players? Hahahaha.

  7. gatorprof says: Jan 19, 2013 6:41 PM

    Leave Brian Bosworth alone!

  8. nyyjetsknicks says: Jan 19, 2013 6:57 PM

    Now here’s a situation where you should have lied.

  9. Deb says: Jan 19, 2013 6:58 PM

    Give Te’o credit for owning his failures on this one thing at least. Unfortunately, Notre Dame AD Swarbrick claimed it affected his performance. Te’o would probably be better off if Notre Dame stopped trying to help him.

  10. rickrock6661982 says: Jan 19, 2013 7:10 PM

    Different day, different response from Te’o.

    Just blowing in the wind..

  11. melikefootball says: Jan 19, 2013 7:17 PM

    So were was he hiding that night? Why wasn’t he straight forward when the announcers were playing the tear card on his behalf and he was knowing all the time what a scm this was.

  12. clownsfan says: Jan 19, 2013 7:18 PM

    This kid just can’t stop lyin’ can he?

  13. helloanybodyhome says: Jan 19, 2013 7:23 PM

    Or…it didn’t affect his because he knew that she was not real, or dead.
    And didn’t think this mess was getting out.

  14. floriostoupee says: Jan 19, 2013 7:32 PM

    congratulations on using “regardless” three times in one post.

  15. xvoorheesx says: Jan 19, 2013 8:37 PM

    I thought i was on PRO football talk. Not loser college kid MTV talk.

  16. cmgww says: Jan 19, 2013 9:01 PM

    Did anyone stop to think that having his D line shoved into his space all game just might have affected his play just a bit? He did have a bad game, but it wasn’t all on him….especially after Nix and Tuitt went out. I think the big stage nerves had more to do with his performance than any fake girlfriend. He wasn’t “exposed” any more than anyone else on NDs defense. MLBs can’t do their job when O linemen get to the 2nd level every play…

  17. crazybeardedjack says: Jan 19, 2013 9:16 PM

    Except for the original ESPN story said:

    Original ESPN story said this:

    “A group of people, including a woman claiming to be Kekua, showed up at the team hotel for the Discover BCS National Championship Game in Miami. Te’o said he knew they were at the hotel because the group took photos in the hotel lobby. Te’o said it affected his play in the game, where Notre Dame lost to Alabama 42-14.”

    And the unexplained edit that took out the Kekua mention maintained the performance passage:

    A group of people related to Tuiasosopo showed up at the team hotel for the Discover BCS National Championship Game in Miami. Te’o said he knew they were at the hotel because the group took photos in the hotel lobby. Te’o said it affected his play in the game, where Notre Dame lost to Alabama 42-14.

  18. 1oldpro says: Jan 19, 2013 10:02 PM

    I’m sorry, but Manti Te’o has turned out to be creepy and I am sick of seeing his picture. Notre Dame did not belong in the BCS Championship and this guy was a no-show that night. I watched him in the first fifteen minutes, trying to figure out why he was even nominated for the Heisman. It was and is an embarassment the way he and his team played and college football should be ashamed of itself for the show it perpetrated on its fans.

  19. paulsmith107 says: Jan 19, 2013 10:20 PM

    Still think this was all a cover for him being gay

  20. fordmandalay says: Jan 19, 2013 11:11 PM

    Remember how sorry USC fans were that he decided to attend Notre Dame instead? Bet they’re all breathing a sigh of relief now that the school didn’t get tainted with this.

  21. soj83 says: Jan 20, 2013 12:33 AM

    what effected his play was a high quality offense playing against him. when i heard someone say he was a top 5 pick in the draft i was flabbergasted at first, but happy that my team wouldn’t be picking that high.

  22. barbeaux says: Jan 20, 2013 2:55 AM

    Saban said ND’s defense was a simple one. He exposed it as being so. Te’o didn’t even lead the team in stats except for ints (which were mostly from tipped balls at the d-line mind you). He didn’t lead the nation in any stats. He wasn’t the defensive prodigy of the year. Other defensive p,ayers were truly & statistically more dominant.

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