So much to get to today, but I have to start with what has to be, without equivocation, the most bizarre sports story of my lifetime.
If you have somehow missed it in the last 18 hours, star Notre Dame linebacker Manti T’eo was revealed in a Deadspin.com story to either have been in on and planned (seems very likely), or been the innocent victim of (not likely), an incredible hoax wherein a girlfriend he talked about movingly and in extreme detail in the past, a girlfriend who was said to have died from leukemia last September, in actuality never existed.
Yes, that’s right. He told hundreds of media outlets in stories personal details of a relationship with a woman named Lennay Kekua, about meeting her at Stanford in 2009, seeing her in Hawaii on vacations, and how tragic and difficult her death was.
Except, such a person never existed, Deadspin revealed. Notre Dame came out Wednesday defending T’eo, saying he had nothing to do with it, and T’eo said in a statement he’s completely a victim here.
I know this all sounds nuts, because it is. Read the original Deadspin story here, and a CNN update here (with bizarre details toward the end from a T’eo friend who said he met Kekua many times). I truly can’t wait to see where this story goes next.
**OK, now to Lance Armstrong, who I’ve tried really hard to avoid reading about in the past few days, once it was “revealed” that he sat down with Queen Oprah and told her that, yes, regrettably, he did all those terrible things people said he did, all those things that there is incontrovertible proof he did: took performance-enhancing drugs, threatened cycling officials, coaches and his own teammates, and basically bullied an entire sport like he was Corleone family member.
And I’m sorry, but are we supposed to give this disgrace of a person “credit” for coming clean now? It’s not confessing if everyone already knows you’re guilty, and there are mounds of evidence proving so.
Lance Armstrong is a disgrace not just because he cheated, and not just because he intimidated and threatened and ruined the lives of many, many people.
He’s a disgrace because he held himself up as a model of what can be done in the fight against cancer, a disease that ravages and kills millions every year. And with all the success stories and heroes that emerge from the cancer fight, he was held up as the No. 1 hero, the paramount success story.
And he’s nothing more than a fraud, wrapped in bicycling clothes. Good riddance to him, and I hope he loses every shred of credibility and esteem he ever had.
On the plus side, hey, it’s nice to see Oprah being relevant again, huh?
**Finally, a few words on Barack Obama and guns. Despite my initial skepticism, he does seem to really be serious this time. Wednesday he proposed 23 executive actions as part of a sweeping overhaul of some of the nation’s gun laws, with a major focus on closing loopholes about background checks.
I don’t know how much of Obama’s plan will pass Congress, but with the NRA continued to absolutely shoot itself in the foot (pardon the pun) with idiotic TV ads like the one above, he’s definitely going to have the public on his side.
Good for him for making a good-faith effort. But there’s still a long, long way to go on gun control.