Many people are laughing at Manti Te’o, Notre Dame linebacker, for falling for a non-existent girl online. Others are condemning him for creating the whole story as hype for his Heisman Trophy bid. For the record, having been there myself, I have no trouble at all believing Te’o developed strong feelings for someone online that he never actually met. I also have no trouble believing that, if that’s what happened, he was probably deeply hurt, humiliated, and reluctant to admit it to anyone, much less the whole world. If my being naive enough to think he could be that naive makes me a laughing stock too, so be it. I know it can happen. I hope for his sake that everything is explained soon so he can get on with his life and career and put this behind him.
In an interview with ESPN this evening, Te’o denied being a part of any scam or hoax. Barring solid evidence to the contrary, I believe him.