Manti Te’o: Victim of elaborate hoax, or desperate attempt to gain Heisman votes and good PR?

There is much yet to be written about Manti Te’o.

Where he’ll find himself when the NFL Draft arrives in April…if he’ll be able to move past the devastating loss to an Alabama team (that could be one of the best ever in college football history) to be an impact player on a weekly basis…or, perhaps more importantly, whether he was the unwitting dupe in a horribly tragic story involving the leukemia death of a woman we are just now finding out he never really met, or a willing participant in the charade. These are just some of the questions that seemed unthinkable as little as two months ago.

And–just how much he might have used this manufactured tragedy to further himself and his Heisman Trophy hopes.

One thing is certain–in today’s news and sports 24-hour-in-your-face media coverage–the longer you remain silent the worse it makes you appear.

There’s this report of who all is involved in the Te’o/Kekua story, from ABCNews.com.

But, far more damning coverage comes from this SportingNews.com story, about how some Notre Dame teammates knew the Kekua story was a hoax all along, and that Te’o was “a very good actor” in the drama that unfolded.

The piece starts off with a NFL.com video interview with its own Mike Mayock, who claims he knew Te’o well, and that he (Mayock) is “a little bit confused” right now as to exactly what happened in this situation, as well as what might happen to Te’o’s status when the NFL Draft arrives in late April.

Most telling, though, are Notre Dame players commenting that Te’o wasn’t the same player in the locker room just before the National Championship game against Alabama on January 7th:

The Irish were whipped by Alabama, 42-14. Te’o walked away knowing the brewing disaster would soon blow up.

“He wasn’t the same spark in the locker room,” a source told Yahoo! Sports. “He was a different kid wearing the same number.”

In todays’s Internet world, the news doesn’t stand still–no matter how much you might want it to. The media will do its digging and check its sources. It will find that one person–those several quotes–that will blow your story wide open.

The absolute worst thing that Te’o and his family can do in this situation is remain silent–because the court of public opinion often doesn’t wait for statements to be released.

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