At one time or another we all lie. It is mostly to ourselves about one thing or another, but sometimes to others. In some cases, it is a “kind” lie such as, “no, that color looks great on you” or “I’ll only be a minute” (Underestimation of time).
When we do, and we recognize it, we ask for forgiveness from those we might have offended or hurt, and, from God and we move on.
Now, there are two important stories in the news about lying. One is a pretty sure bet and the other is not so clear at this point.
First, we have Lance Armstrong. After years of denials, he came clean, so to speak, with Oprah Winfrey to admit something almost everyone in and out of the sport of cycling knew—that he was using banned and illegal substances throughout his cycling career and especially during his run of 7 Tour De France titles.
“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” This quote is attributed to Vladimir Lenin, but even that appears to be untrue. But nevertheless, we have seen this borne out in the Armstrong story.
So, now he confesses. But with his lying, he left a wake of destruction of other people’s lives, his sport (and sports in general) and ultimately in him as a person. Whatever good he has done in overcome cancer, his LiveStrong foundation and other chartable acts will be long overshadowed by the “big lie.”
We’ll be hearing of Lance Armstrong for many weeks before it dies back to where it came.
This brings me to the strange case of Notre Dame star linebacker and Mormon, Manti Te’o. His alleged girlfriend, Lenay Kekua, who died of Leukemia in September never, existed. Fake messages, fake pictures and a fake persona. You can read about the whole story in any paper or online site you chose, but the publication that broke the story is Deadspin.
The big questions are:
“What did Manti know and when did he know it?” Was he “in” on it or was he completely a victim?
Now, the whole story is a lie, but it is unclear who all is implicated in it. It appears that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a supposed friend of Te’o and a part of a famous football family, is the perpetrator.
The real problem of the story centers around Manti’s insistence that he spoke to her every night for four months, that he listened to her sleep on his cell phone and that they met at Stanford in 2009 after a Notre Dame-Stanford football game.
Even his parents, who live in Mormon enclave, Laie, Hawaii, home of the PCC and BYU-Hawaii, talked about their meetings. Where did they get that information?
So, the story has to have one of two explanations:
1. Te’o was totally fooled by the hoax, perfectly pulled off by Tuiasosopo. Which, of course, makes him appear dumb as rocks. Or,
2. He was in on it, at the very least playing along. This makes him a liar.
So, in my mind, I have to ask myself this question. Why would he lie? This is a star football player that could have probably had any girl, let alone just about any Mormon girl, he wanted. Why would he need to make up one?
There are two sides to Te’o that people describe. There is the humble, nice, would go out of his way to be nice to people kind of guy, and religious. Just the Mormon example you would want attending a Catholic University. There are others who describe him as attention-seeking, which this kind of a story with its sad details and tragic ending would garner.
We all know that star college athletes get very special treatment. They often get a pass for bad behavior, even at religious-oriented schools like BYU. Many people have come to Te’o’s defense, as they did for Lance Armstrong. When the truth finally comes out, Te’o will still be drafted high by an NFL team because he is a walking money machine, Both for him and football.
So, at this point, only two people know the real truth, Te’o and Heavenly Father.
Finally, as always we are not the final judge of Te’o’s life. Chances are he will redeem himself from this situation and go on to have a storied career in the NFL, making millions of dollars and having legions of adoring fans. There will always be an asterisk next to his name noting the hoax that happened in college.
Te’o is not the only Mormon athlete to turn down BYU and go to another school. He is not the only star athlete to not serve a mission for the Church (can you say Jimmer Ferdette?). But one has to wonder, even a little bit, if this would have happened if he had gone to BYU instead of Notre Dame? Or, if that really has anything to do with it.
Remember, we are all liars at one time or another. The online world we live in now, makes lying easy, possibly without consequences.