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Notre Dame Stands By Their Man and the Lies They Told Us

Manti Te'o sitting on the sidelines during Notre Dame's 20-16 victory over the USC Trojans at the Coliseum on Nov. 27, 2010. (Shotgun Spratling/Neon Tommy on Flickr, Creative Commons)
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I have a big problem with Notre Dame and their credibility issue. Their policy of protecting its football players at all costs makes their defense of Manti Te'o and his fake girlfriend ring very hollow.

Athletic director Jack Swarbrick took a page from Tammy Wynette's playbook:

You'll have bad times And he'll have good times Doing things that you don't understand But if you love him you'll forgive him Even though he's hard to understand And if you love him Oh be proud of him 'Cause after all he's just a man Stand by your man

"Manti is the victim of that hoax, and he will carry that with him for a while," Swarbrick said in a press conference Wednesday night even going so far as to break out with the waterworks.

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"In many ways, Manti was the perfect mark because he is a guy who is so willing to believe in others and so ready to help that, as this hoax played out in a way that called upon those tendencies of Manti and roped him more and more into the trap. He was not a person who would have a second thought about offering his assistance and help in engaging fully."

Oh. Now ain't that a bitch? Poor Manti. Poor stupid football player. Poor naive Mormon boy.

I brought up Lizzy Seeberg yesterday in link form. She was the girl who reported a Notre Dame football player raped her in 2010 before taking her life 10 days later. The Washington Post's Melinda Henneberger writing for the National Catholic Register wrote an excellent account of the story.

In the story, Henneberger talked to a former Notre Dame Security Police officer who said that the university barred police to go to the athletic department when investigating student athletes. Notre Dame responded by saying that athletes don't get preferential treatment. That's why it took 15 days to interview the player in question?

The player in question was exonerated. Seeberg was buried, and other Notre Dame football rape victims have refused to report due to Seeberg's treatment by the university and its police department. Lives move on and the football team reclaims its former glory.

Reading the story made it clear to me that Notre Dame will do anything in its power to protect its football team by any means necessary. Is it really surprising coming from a Catholic institution?

So forgive me if I don't find Swarbrick a credible person. His institution will do whatever it takes to protect its athletes, so how do we know he's not lying to protect Te'o?

True a young woman's rape does not equate to Te'o's fake girlfriend. But the extent the university will go to protect its athletes does justify bringing up Seeberg's story in this case. Is Te'o really the innocent victim as Swarbrick claimed?

There are rumors running amok about this story. One that has gained some traction is that Te'o and Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the alleged creator of the fake Lennay Kekua, was in a clandestine gay relationship. If Te'o wants to gain control of the story, he needs to address this story beyond the ambiguous press release he issued on Wednesday.

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Now to the sports media that allowed this myth to be perpetuated. I hate feel-good stories. I don't trust athletes. I don't trust sports teams and institutions.

Athletes are only in this racket for several things: money, fame, power or all of the above. God? I Timothy 6:10 states clearly, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." Yes, the atheist quoted the New International Version.

Sure some athletes want to good with their wealth and fame. But these people are not heroes, they're not role models as Charles Barkley famously decried in his Nike commercial in the mid-1990's.

But time after time there's a soft profile by Tom Rinaldi, a fluff story by Wojciechowski, a blubbering column by Bill Plaschke building these athletes up to mythic proportions. And time after time I just avert my eyes.

Today, everyone who has covered this story is trying to back pedal. Poor Manti. How awful he must feel. Poor Notre Dame. Poor us, we had no idea. What a monster this person is who fabricated this lie. THE HORROR!

Well I suppose if you off yourself after being raped (not sexually assaulted) by a Notre Dame football player when receiving threatening messages and not being taken seriously, you don't deserve any sympathy since, after all, you threatened the sanctity of an athletic program.

People want to say that cynicism is ruining the world, but I say that it's better than being duped time after time by these false idols, using Christian terms. Kobe Bryant accused of rape? Yeah, what a surprise. Lance Armstrong really was a druggie? Knock me over with a feather.

Sorry. I prefer the truth so excuse my disbelief of all of this. Too bad the truth is something Notre Dame has a hard time coming to grips with. But we know about those Catholics, right?