[U]ntil the mushroom cloud of a Deadspin report enveloped his life Wednesday, Te’o was considered to be all that was right and good about college football. He was more than an All-American linebacker from Notre Dame; he was an ideal, a template for integrity, compassion and humility. Te’o might still be all of those things. Or none of them. We still don’t know for sure.
We do know he issued a statement saying that he was the victim of an elaborate online and telephonic deception. We know that his “girlfriend,” and her death from leukemia, were the figments of someone’s depraved imagination. What we don’t know is whether Te’o’s imagination was involved in the deception.
Alexander Abad-Santos is puzzled:
Buzzfeed’s video Svengali, Andrew Kaczynski, found a Te’o interview from December 8 — two days after he allegedly found out this was a hoax — wherein Te’o acknowledged that his “girlfriend” died from cancer. “I don’t like cancer at all. I lost my grandparents and my girlfriend to cancer,” Te’o said. Te’o here is, at the very least, perpetuating his girlfriend’s leukemia saga.