Get Thee Behind Me, Keuka

The big story at the NFL Combine was a big man running very, very fast. Until, that is, Manti T’eo sat behind the microphone for the first time and addressed the media. A lot of media. Like a real big lot of media. Check out this pic that Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted as the proceedings got underway. A veritable circus surrounding this kid. The fifteen minutes he gave the press went exactly as you’d expect it to. The media asked question after question about the hoax and eventually, someone finally asked about football. Here’s just a few thoughts.

First, T’eo did the right things today. The NFL doesn’t mandate that prospects speak to the media during the Combine. It’s up to them if they want to and many do. I can see why they’d want to. It’s a chance to up your draft stock, maybe even pitch yourself to certain teams. But T’eo’s move to talk was great because he finally has a chance to put his embarrassing catfishing behind him. He put up with all the questions, and there were plenty of them. But it’s better here and now than later. T’eo has met with two teams so far and admitted both of them asked about the hoax, so you know that it will come up in meeting after meeting and in interview after interview. T’eo clearly wants to get a rather shameful part of his past behind him and this was a good step. He also looks better after saying that he’s not going to pursue legal action against the perpetrator of the hoax. It may be him just wanting to do everything to move on, but he really comes off as someone whose not a vindictive person and closer to the T’eo we all thought we knew about from nine months ago.

Second, can the media finally be done with this story? I’m not really a T’eo mark just trying to get you off of the kid’s back. But it’s officially been done to death. The national media swarmed all over this story when it first came out. I mean, CNN alone seemingly devoted entire hours of it’s morning show to the hoax. And this kid with a name a good chunk of the newspeople who were no fascinated with him couldn’t pronounce, was everywhere. He really didn’t deserve that kind of piling on. I expected it from ESPN. This kind of story is right in their wheelhouse of over-exposure. For a while it looked like their T’eo coverage would eclipse their Tebow coverage. But from CNN and Fox and the Big 3? Way too much. The only outlet I’m absolving from participating in this circus is Deadspin. Yes, the site broke the story. However, they actually did the investigative leg work that everyone else spent weeks chasing behind. Now, I only  really absolve them here because they’re at least still doing investigative journalism. As someone who works in news, I’ve seen that aspect of the business ashamedly fade away. I mean, the big networks barely do investigative work any more. That’s left to NPR and enterprising web sites. And no, the 6 o’clock news’ exposes on bad landlords are not investigative journalism. Neither is that “Is there something in your fridge that will kill you?!?! Find out at 11!” crap that gets run during sweeps. That stuff just pisses me off…


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