I tend to be a contrerian by nature. It isn't something I consciously try to do, rather, it is just who I am. Since my first memories as a child, I have always had A rebellious spirit. A perspective different than the ''majority''. I could analyze the reasons behind it all day. Nature or nurture , not even Nietzsche would know the reasons behind it. I try to look at it as a blessing rather than A curse. Even though, it has been a source of major conflict in my , especially in regards to my parents and I. So I know that I need to real it in some times. Afterall, no one likes a guy that argues just to argue(which some of you have accused me of). So I always try to explain my position to people the best I can so I don't come off as an agitator. Sometimes I am successful and other times I am not in that respect. But I at least try to explain my position , regardless if it challenges the status quo or not
So when I hear all of this hand ringing and discord over this Manti Teo fake girlfriend story, my first reaction is to say big deal. So what if he made up a fake girlfriend.No one was hurt were they? Sure it was A lie. But not all lies are created equal.Lets not pretend this is the Tobacco company lying in front of congress about cigarettes and cancer. You are mad that this lie fooled you.But shame on you for being involved in someone else' s love life to begin with.
Who cares if it was a prank. Big deal if the guy is so stupid that he couldn't figure out this girl was bogus. Is there a crime in being dumb? If there were , half the people in this country would be on death row. Maybe it was a prank. Maybe this guy had the wool pulled over his eyes. To that , I have to say that it is as much of an indictment of the person pulling the prank as it is to Teo. How empty does your life have to be, how much of A loser are you, how much free time and little social life do you have to have in order for you to perpetrate a hoax like this for a year just so you could get a ''haha'' moment in the end? Truly pathetic all the way around
Then , there is my favorite rumor that has surfaced out of this whole ordeal. Is Manti Teo gay? Is this a facade to cover up the fact that Teo and this other dude are lovers? A story concocted to throw off the religious right, the ultra machismo world of football players and the ''homophobic''(according to the left wing media) general population. I think this accusation is most cruel. Not because there is anything wrong with being gay. How someone gets their jolly's off is none of by business . It is the most cruel because it assumes that we are all intolerant biggots and homophobes. That somehow it is a reflection on our intolerance and ignorance that we would be offended by a homosexual athlete in our midst . To that , all I have to say is it is 2013. If you haven't seen A gay couple or A gay themes in pop culture, congratulations on awakening from your thirty year coma.
And besides , even if he were gay and wanted to remain in the closet, he has perfect excuse as to why he isn't dating girls. That is,he's Mormon going to a Catholic school. No one asks Tim Tebow if he is gay. You never see Tebow with girls, even though he could have any girl he wants. No one asks because Tebow wants to remain celibate until marriage. That's it, case closed. I am by no means insinuating Tebow is gay. I am just saying that going through with a hoax of this magnitude to protect your sexuality seems like a lot of hard work, when all you have to say it is against my beliefs to have sex before marriage
Who the (blank) cares if Teo lied? Who the (blank) cares if the guy was duped? Who the (blank) cares if he is gay? This was my initial reaction to this story by Deadspin. But then I got to thinking, is this a bigger deal than I am giving it credit for? What is it about this story that is captivating to A large segment of society? I want to dig deeper into this issue, because I think it is a reflection of our society and we as sports fans in general. So I think it is important to discuss.
A few things before we get started here, I know that there are those that will think this type of post doesn't belong on AP. I can just hear some people reading this saying, ''stick to the Chiefs''. To that I will say , there are plenty of mock drafts and free agent posts on here to occupy your time. If you don't like this topic, feel free to skip over it or feel free to say so in the comment section. What you do with your free time and what you choose to read is your business. But I know for a fact that there are no shortage of people on here that want to discuss this.
Another thing, I like to present my posts in a linear,structured fashion. A plus B equals C so to speak. This post however, might be different. I am going to do this all in one sitting and I am not A hundred percent sure exactly where I want to go with this. So I am kind of winging it a little. So with that in mind, let's get started
Social media and the decline of human interaction
When I first read this story, my immediate reaction was ,this is eerily similar to The Night Listener. What is the Listener you ask, it is a book (I keep meaning to read but can't find it at my library) by Armistead Maupin that was developed into a film in 2006. It stars Robin Williams as a journalist that is following up on a horrific story by a young boy named Pete. As the story goes, Pete was the subject of extreme sexual abuse by his parents and others when he was a very young child. In fact, the abuse was so bad and frequent that Pete ended up contracting the AIDS virus as a result. Horrified by the story, Gabe(Williams ) reaches out to Pete and his foster mother in a series of phone calls and over the course of several months strikes a friendship with the boy. Gabe is very lonely in his own life and seeks companionship in anyway he can find
I won't give away the rest of the film(which is good but could have been a little longer IMO) but several attempts by Gabe to meet the child are thwarted by his foster mother, making Gabe question whether or not the boy even exists. Loneliness is a big problem in this country, as is isolation. In 1950 ,only nine percent of households had only person. By 2010, that number almost tripled to 27% . Many factors contribute to the rise of single households. The decline of the importance of family, divorce rates, the rise of independence etc ... But I can't help but wonder, is social media to blame for the rise of loneliness?
Take this study by the American Sociological Association in 2006 . In this study, people surveyed in 1985 averaged 3 people that an individual felt he/she could share important matter with (i.e friends) compared 2.08 people in which an individual felt they could share important matters with in 2004. This decline seems to coincide the rise of social networking in the United States. Another interesting/disturbing finding in this same study suggests that the number of people who have no one to discuss important matters with , increased 25 percent since 1985!!
The implication is that people are more reclusive that ever when it come to physical ,social interaction,which most psychologists agree is very important is sustaining a healthy emotional state of being. Then of course , there is the phenomena of online dating. 25 million Americans used online dating sites in 2011 alone .Almost forty percent of internet users have said they have tried online dating at some point. And yet, less than twenty percent of married couples surveyed that they met online. Again , human interaction is statistically the best way to meet a partner.
But in the world we live in, facebook friends are real friends and many people swear by the benefits of online dating. But all this online interaction has made us a bunch sissies and nerds. We don't have imaginary friends anymore, we just have friends that are imagined. I don't have to hang out with you to call you my buddy. All I have to do is click on a button and add you to my friends list. We may never talk or ever meet each other. But who cares, as long as people see how many online ''friends '' I have. It is just become a status symbol of popularity , that is, look at all my so called friends, when in all reality, I never met or will never meet any of them and if they walked in my house I wouldn't know who the hell they are. Call be old fashioned , but give me three or four really close friends that I can hang out with over a gaggle of yahoo's I have never met before that are only there to boost my self serving ego ,''neeto ma'', look at all the people on my wall''. No thanks, I moved out of moms basement years ago
I have never hooked up, made a date with , or even talked to a girl online. I am very proud of that fact. It is estimated that 81% of online profiles include some false information regarding age, weight, height, financial status etc.. I witnessed this first hand when I lived with my buddy Josh. You see, Josh was real big into meeting girls online. This was back when online dating was first becoming all the rage. He would always brag about how easy it was and you didn't have to go out to meet chicks and all these girls wanted to do was hook up yadda yadda. That was fine in principle, until they came to the house. Some of them made my skin crawl, but the look on my friends face when 5' 7,120 Mary Beth transformed into 5'2, 225 lb Bertha was priceless. Lets just say I will take what I was able to pull home from the bar over what he met online any day
When I hear that Teo never met this supposed girl in person, sadly, it seems plausible in the context of the current cultural climate. This generation has some odd prejudice about meeting and talking to people face to face. I can call my brother (he's 25) eight times in a row , no answer. I shoot him a text and I get an immediate reply almost every time. I can't understand not meeting someone I am dating in person, but then again I am old school/just old. So I guess this is a possible scenario , even though it is as sad and pathetic as it gets. Because we don't have the balls to talk to someone face to face anymore. It is easier to hide behind A keyboard. Just really sad
Do athletes owe us honesty?
So the other possibility is that Teo is lying. I'm not here to speculate on why or what he was lying about. But rather look into the fact whether or not he knew this women existed. Since this story broke, there have been several new developments. Not the least of which is several teammates coming forward to say they believe he was in on the prank. The question for me at least , is that if I were to believe this were true, that Teo was duped by this deal, why didn't he go to the funeral when she died? Why didn't he ever try to visit her in the hospital? Did the guy never asked any questions about her illness? It makes no sense whatsoever. He never made any attempt to see her in the two years they were ''dating''? It just seems impossible to carry on for that long and he never wanted to see her. He also said she visited him in Hawaii, which obviously was a lie. So I give it almost zero possibility that he didn't know she was fake
It is almost poetic justice that this controversy came on the heels of another star athlete lying to the public. Lance Armstrong plopped down on Americas couch and sat down with Americas shrink Oprah Winfrey and admitted to using P.E.D's. This of course comes as an outrage to many people who backed Lance Armstrong in his case to clear his name of any wrongdoing . Lance is now a liar and a cheater to most people in this country. Anything good he did with Livestrong is now tarnished forever because he lied about using performance enhancers. But the question remains, how much do we need to know about these athletes? We put them on a pedestal and then we get angry if they tarnish our vision of who they are. They lie, but is it our business? With Armstrong it might be the case. Afterall, Lance took a lot of people down with him. He ruined a lot of people that had the audacity to accuse him. So I can understand much of the anger with Lance and his lies. I'm not so sure I can with with Manti Teo.
Because we shouldn't have been so invested in this thing in the first place. It was his'' relationship'' to begin with. Why do we care so much about what these guys do off the field to begin with? He didn't cheat on the field . He didn't cheat in the class room. So why do we care so much if he lied about having a make believe girlfriend? The reason we care, is because we allowed ourselves(actually , I didn't know about him saying his GF died until I read the article) to become wrapped up in his situation and now somehow we feel cheated. Or better yet, the media feels betrayed and now because they failed to act and do their due diligence on this story to begin with ,they now want you to be mad Teo because they got shown up by a website they disrespect. A lot of the anger comes from the media telling you to be angry. So they kick the hornets nest and stir up a swarm and want you to get upset because they failed to expose this lie to begin with. Sorry ESPN, I am not going for it.
Look, the guy lied . He has some issues , But they are his issues. I'm not going to sweat over a guy lying to me about his girlfriend dying. I actually feel embarrassed and a little sad for the guy. This is obviously a pathetic situation here. But I don't think it is worth anyone getting worked up over. Athletes are very self absorbed almost sociopathic individuals. They will do anything that they think will help them achieve their goals. So I don't trust what they say or do because of that. They don't owe us honesty. And when they do give us honesty , we rip them apart. It's like that scene in a Few Good Man when Jack Nicholson is talking about the wall that separates him from the rest of the world. We want these guys on that wall, we need these guys on that wall. But we can't handle the truth when it comes out. That these are far from perfect people that lead messed up lives. And we get mad at them when we find out they aren't super human, because we need people to look up to.
Where was the news media?
Perhaps the biggest failure of all is the media. For five months they never asked any questions or did any fact checking in regards to this story. The hammer came down from a National Enquirer type of news outlet. Many reputable news outlets just ran with the original story as if it were fact. That is scary if you think about it. I thought the media were the purveyors of truth and justice. I thought the media prided itself on asking tough questions. So why were no questions asked whatsoever. How could the media have been taken for a ride? All it would have taken to blow up this story five months ago was a search for a death certificate. But no such search was conducted . No questions were asked in regards to this story. The media failed us once again
The Manti Toe story is interesting in the sense it gives us a sneak peak into the culture we have become. A culture that seems to drift farther and farther away from human interaction. A culture that worships celebrities and narcissism. A culture of highly flawed people wanting to believe that their idols have no flaws themselves. I think we need to spend more time interacting with those we know and love and less time with those we couldn't pull out of a lineup