On Wednesday night, Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick did linebacker Manti Te’o no favors. Apart from framing a Clintoneque question regarding the use by Te’o of the term “met,” Swarbrick said that Te’o would be addressing the situation regarding his fake dead girlfriend as soon as Thursday.
Thursday came and went, with no evidence that Te’o would be speaking. Instead, reports that Te’o would submit to an interview with Jeremy Schaap of ESPN quickly yielded to reports that the interview had been scrapped.
Now, Schaap reports that Te’o spent time Friday morning working with a team of family members and advisers, in an effort to determine the best way to proceed.
“Grab a microphone and tell the truth” is the prevailing suggestion by the general public.
As we’ve explained. It’s not quite that easy. Te’o is young and, at best, sufficiently gullible to make Forrest Gump look like a bunko artist. Even if Te’o is telling the truth, he may have a hard time telling the truth in a way that seems truthful. Especially since he’ll be tiptoeing through a minefield of potential inconsistencies arising from things he has said and things members of his family have said.
Meanwhile, Shelley Smith of ESPN interviewed an anonymous female who claims that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo confessed to fooling Te’o in December. The anonymous source tells Smith that Te’o was not involved in the hoax; another anonymous source separately told Deadspin that the source is “80 percent” certain that Te’o was aware of the hoax before the fake girlfriend’s fake death.
All we know at this point is that, with each passing hour, it’s becoming harder and harder to believe that Te’o was solely the victim. Still, if it becomes harder to believe he’s the victim after he talks, it’s far better that he not talk at all.