Manti Te’o is a little slow and other reasons we sports fans need to reassess our priorities

“You may have never set foot in McDonald’s but you have your own McDonald’s. Maybe instead of buying a Big Mac, you read Us Weekly.  Hey, that’s still McDonald’s.  It’s just served up a little different.”

–          Jim Gaffigan

“I exploit you, still you love me.  I tell you one and one make three.  I’m the cult of personality.”

–          Living Colour

“Lies, lies, lies, yeah!”

–          Thompson Twins

Comedian Jim Gaffigan has this hysterical skit based on the denial of our love for McDonald’s.  In it, he describes our affinity for trashy television shows, Hollywood gossip and over-priced coffee chains as the junk food for our collective souls.

I couldn’t help but think of that skit as I gathered my thoughts on the whole Manti Te’o story, or the Lance Armstrong confession or whatever irrelevant sports story has become the McDonald’s of our day.  When I tried to make sense of it all, all I kept coming back to was how I couldn’t make any sense of it all, how good it all tasted going down and how miserable I ended up feeling after digesting it.

The sports year began with tens of millions of us glued to the tale of a disgraced national hero, which was immediately followed by a charismatic, high-profile, college football player who got duped into thinking he was in love with a girl who didn’t exist.  The term ‘catfish’ entered everyone’s vernacular.  Then suddenly, it all went away, until a relatively out of shape Te’o failed to impress at the NFL combine, running one of the slowest 40-yard dashes of his draft class.

The talk resurfaced and we watched once again, just another trip through the drive-thru.  Would you like an apple pie with that?

It’s a sad day in America when we look forward more to watching tell-all interviews with fallen athletes than we do to the sporting events themselves.

Trust me, I’m not throwing stones.  I set my DVR like everyone else.

Who among us didn’t watch as Manti and Lance squirmed uncomfortably in front of the female firing squads named Oprah and Katie?  Don’t believe me?  28 million Americans watched Part One of Oprah’s Lance Armstrong interview.  That’s two times more than watched last year’s World Series!  Similarly, Couric’s interview with the Te’o family drew her highest ratings yet.

We simply had to know.  More French fries, please.

With Manti, we heard every potential conspiracy Te’ory about what happened and why.  How could he be so naïve?  Was he lying?  Was he gay?  Five weeks and fifteen minutes ago, it was all anyone could talk about.  Chuck Klostermann called the concocted tale of Teo’s girlfriend “the most peculiar sports story since Tonya Harding” and just like the sketchy skating scandal of yesteryear, we still don’t know what to believe.  The gossip has become far more important that the sporting events… or perhaps the gossip has become the sport.

We’ve gone so far off the deep end that predicting the next great sports scandal has become impossible.  Colonel Mustard with the Heisman Trophy in the conservatory.  All we know for sure is that it’s coming… and we’ll tune in.

For years, we praised Lance Armstrong.  Now we despise him.  Manti’s act was so convincing, he had us all toasting his one-of-a-kind story.   Now we’re more likely to see him on his own reality TV show than we are on an NFL roster.  They lied and we believed.

Regardless of who lies to us next, as Gaffigan suggests, it’s all McDonald’s.

Maybe we should all go on a diet.

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23 Replies to “Manti Te’o is a little slow and other reasons we sports fans need to reassess our priorities”

  1. Anybody that watched the NC game should have seen that he didn’t belong on the same field with Bama players. I even commented to our mutual friend Jim during the game that he would not even start for Alabama…and I could not name one Bama LB this year off the top of my head. The just looked athletic and he, well, didn’t.

    We were all duped by the Notre Dame hype…yet again…playing against vastly inferior teams throughout the year only to be exposed against a team with real talent. He literally fell down doing nothing repeatedly in the NC game. I hope my NFL team doesn’t waste a pick on him.

  2. The only thing slower than Manti Te’o at present is the time it takes Oscar Pistorious the time he takes to put on his pair of prosthesis legs .

    I hear Manti’s next trip will have him traveling up someone’s Hershey Highway .

    “Katie I can assure you, I’m not gay , pillow biting while rough housing with my male friends , is just something I’ve grown use to !” One of the responses given by Teo that was cut out of his interview with Katie Couric , just in case someone might misconstrued Manti Teo’s ambivalent sexual orientation .

    Like my grandmother always said ” where there’s smoke there’s fire ” . And someone is burning this son of a bi#ch down !

    Tophatal ………………….

  3. Notre Dame, overhype , overplayed and simply burnt out ! And NBC Sports will continue to flog that dead horse for years to come , while losing money as a broadcast network .

  4. Great writing, Rev!

    I’ll go ahead and pat myself on the back since I never bought the crap that these two gigantic douches were selling anyway.

    I like my sports heroes to be selfish, dirty, anything to win, type guys…. as long as they don’t try to pass themselves off as some kind of modern day saints.

  5. I’m slowly giving it up. Not Mcdonalds (that would be crazy), but the constant negative media hyped scandals. I’m at the point where sports has become a waste of my time. My heroes are all gone now and what is left is just not worth the aggravation. I need to find a hobby. Maybe competitive eating, I can put away some cheeseburgers.

  6. D….

    With the 72nd pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select…. Manti Te’o from the University of Notre Dame.

    Can’t you just see that one coming?

    I guess my question is, why was this such huge news? Was it because he was such a high profile player at a high profile university? Would it have made as big a splash had it been the same story with a different guy from a different school?

  7. Al…

    Let’s assume two things here for a second.

    a) Manti Te’o is gay. We know this because he came out and said so.

    b) Manti Te’o led Notre Dame to an upset victory over Alabama in the National Championship game that he left no doubt about being able to play at the next level.

    Would an NFL team take a chance on him and if so, how early in the draft would he go?

  8. Han…

    That’s probably why you’ve won so many SportsChump contests over the years, elbowing my other readers in the face. Don’t worry, with March Madness coming up, they can play dirty too.

  9. The Jets can draft him…perfect…I am a Colt fan so hopefully Irsay doesn’t feel like getting a golden domer from around the corner.

    Who won last years March Madness pool?

  10. I’ve no problem with Manti Teo coming out proclaiming his sexuality ! What I do have a problem with is the kid’s obvious ambiguity , hypocrisy and the repeated lies that he’s told while proclaiming his Christian faith ! That to me , is utter bull$hit !

    Not unlike the frigging idiocy we’re now seeing concerning the Catholic Church and the conclave of Cardinals now choosing a successor to Pope Benedict . Benedict when he was asked by his predecessor to come to the US in 2003 -04 and to meet with the various US Cardinals , hid behind his cassock and simply refused to acknowledge the length and breath of sexual abuse scandal that the church itself covered up and in some cases countenanced by allowing those priest to be moved around dioceses across North America to repeat their vile acts .

    There was no way that Notre Dame would have got the better of ‘bama in the BCS game , not unless that ‘bama team had been drugged with ‘Special K ‘ !

    Teo as good as he has been this past season he’s not the best linebacker in College Football . Check out Ogletree , bro ! Way better than Manti Teo .

    Tophatal …………

  11. Lauren Silberman belongs in the Lingerie Football League and not in the NFL as a kicker , or anything else for that as a matter of fact ! Her two attempts collectively (51 yards ) would have barely covered half the length an NFL pitch .

    World Baseball Classic provides about as much as excitement as the National Spelling Bee , but just happens to be far more expensive to stage .

    Tophatal …………….

  12. D…

    Talking smack pre-tourney, I like it.

    Probably not as much smack as Te’o will have to deal with once he gets his first NFL locker room.

    Think the hazing’ll make him cry?

  13. I’ll concur with that 30 for 30 and say that ever since OJ this country has been feeding on reality tv and the celeb sports athlete. Personally, I try to tune most of this fattening junk out.

    One has to wonder though if Manti Te’o has lost his mental edge and is junkier than he would have been before that fiasco.

  14. Jed…

    I almost want to feel sorry for the kid considering everything he’s been through except I’m not sure I entirely believe his story.

    The only read good that came out of the whole thing is that we learned that journalists out there still don’t know how to do their jobs.

  15. Al…

    Would’ve been huge had Manti simply come out. That decision would have introduced an entirely new dialogue to professional sports and we would have seen a lot more NFL players, and franchises, go all Chris Culliver on us.

    And why were we even paying attention to that Silberman story? Who’s idea was it to let her think she could make an NFL roster? She kicks like, well, a girl.

  16. odd how few comments had anything at all to do with the pervasiveness of the “McDonalds” culture. Perfect that Klosterman relates it to “…since the Tonya Harding story..”

    Whether or not it began with British tabloid journalism, perfected profitably by Rupert Murdoch and kin, either way we crave that which defeats us. I think that one of those French existential conversations is required but I’m not inebriated nor on a mountain top.

    We do it because we like it. And we could give a shit if it’s bad for us. Those are tomorrows debts.

    It’s the human condition.

    Kind of like checking in on random sports blogs… what’s the point?

    “to while away the hours in an offhand way…”

  17. Treezer…

    I’m not about to blame another culture for our shallowness. It’s time we stepped up to the plate (sports reference, do the French do that?) and take accountability.

    But I must congratulate you on being the first in four years to reference existentialism on the site.

    Glad I was able to serve as inspiration.


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