Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Much Ado and ...Invisible Girls. (Part 6)


So you knew this one was coming.  This is the story of a football player and his invisible girl friend. The story is Manti T'eo, a star of Notre Dame football who has a girlfriend who does not exist.  Apparently, T'eo met a girl online. He never met her.  They developed a loving relationship.  She was diagnosed with Leukemia and then in the same week T'eo's grandmother died so did she.  It was a romantic story.  It was a moving one. According to T'eo, it was her fight to live that inspired him to do better.  The problem is the girlfriend never existed.  She was a hoax.

If we are to believe Notre Dame, T'eo, who discovered the hoax on December 6, was completely duped by this ruse. He then notified the university twenty days later. So here are the possibilities: 1. T'eo was completely duped. 2. T'eo discovered the ploy before December 6th and went along with it.  3. T'eo was in on the hoax from early on.  It actually makes little difference if T'eo was duped and is either not overly bright or extremely naive or if he participated in the hoax and is an attention hound.  There is a certain matter of character involved here.

So I've been waiting to see how this pans out because clearly the press did not do its job.  They were so enamoured by this story with its O. Henry like properties, they never actually bothered to find out if what they were reporting was true.  Does it bother anyone else that T'eo and Notre Dame new the story was false at least two weeks before the championship game and continued to support the romantic tale?  Does it bother anyone that T'eo went on interviews at least twice after December 6 and talked about the story as if it were still true?  Does it bother anyone that there was little reporting on the rape scandal at Notre Dame and little in the way of investigation by the school. The story that isn't still in the press is much more serious.

In 2010, St. Mary's College freshman, Lizzy Seeberg committed suicide following her written report that she was assaulted by members of the Notre Dame's football team.  St. Mary's is ths sister school for Notre Dame. Following these report she received texts from a member of the team threatening her.  In September, following a panic attack, she took her own life just ten days after the report.  You would think that with Penn State's scandal there would be an outcry for a better investigation, instead of the one that did not begin until fifteen days after Lizzy filed her report. She had been dead for five days.

The player, who was never named, was found by a university hearing in February 2011 had not violated the university's sexual misconduct policy. A spokesman for the Notre Dame said there seems to be an "impression" she was raped.  He goes on to say, "In fact, it was an allegation of touching above the waist. He says it was consensual. She says it wasn’t." He also says that the accounts of what happened were different between what Seeberg reported and the football player reported as well as witnesses.  The attorney for the football player announced that it was a "completely phony lie." Yet there seems to be little discussion on intimidation via text messages. It is too bad that Lizzy was not there to give her own account

Instead, we sit discussing a covered up hoax. One that has been covered up obviously since at least December 6.  Poor T'eo.  Duped. Ironically, dear press, perhaps one of the threatening  texts was true..."Messing with Notre Dame football is a bad idea." We have Much Ado instead of a discussion about a the silence of a culture fostering monstrous behavior.

(Read the complete report from the National Catholic Reporter)