We are still in January, and the Manti Te’o hoax is already a serious contender for Story of the Year. And everywhere you look, somebody is making a joke. Some are funny. Most are not.
Among the more popular examples…
The Dallas Stars showed an empty seat this weekend on their jumbotron and used the caption “Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.”
The folks at Funny or Die put together a fake eHarmony “dating success commercial” featuring Te’o and and an invisible Lennay.
Saturday Night Live skewered Te’o with an impersonation in which he asks a dead Lennay if she needs a ride to the funeral.
And of course, EVERYBODY has made a joke (or twelve) on Twitter.
But is everybody going too far? It is easy to forget that we are still talking about a 21-year-old college student who has no history of being a trouble-maker. If Te’o lied and embellished a story, he wouldn’t be the first college student to do so. He is just the first college student to do so and have it turn into a national catastrophe.
We are also talking about a kid, who until recently, didn’t have the benefit of an agent or manager to help him make the right decisions or guide him in how best to handle the budding controversy.
Of course, if Te’o was involved in the hoax from the beginning, then maybe he deserves the jokes. But as a society, there have been hundreds of athletes that have done far worse that we have treated much better. So maybe we should think about that next time somebody tells the same lame joke for the 6,000th time.
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