The story of Notre Dame’s football player, Manti Te’o, is just bizarre. It’s like trying to figure out who dunnit in CLUE.
If you haven’t heard, the short story is that Manti Te’o's girlfriend was in a car accident and then died of leukemia within24 hours of his grandmother’s death last September. This girlfriend relationship was publicized all fall and gained sympathy from fans of Te’o. The storyline was classic–personal loss inspires triumph on the playing field.
But now we learn that there was never an accident, a death (the grandmother did die) or even a real girlfriend. In Te’o's recent press conference, he claimed to have been the victim of an elaborate hoax. He says he had an on-line relationship with a woman for three years and was not aware that this person didn’t really exist.
It’s all still a mystery.
Who would go to such lengths to create this crazy story and why?
Who gets their kicks out of making up tragedy and using the Internet as an enabler?
A hoax can spread quickly now that we are all connected. People who create hoaxes get traffic and attention. They want to see how far they can go to fool people. Fooling people makes a hoaxster feel successful. It’s social power. Deception. Lies.
A hoax can be an act of revenge, a misguided attempt at information, a branding strategy, a prank, a dare or even a sick way of creating drama.
But in the long run, hoaxes are damaging. No ones like to be deceived. Hoaxes create a sense of distrust and diminish real life tragedy. They make us cynical and wondering who can we trust. And with all the recent admissions of lies, do we really need to perpetuate more untruth?
So whoever did this hoax and perpetuated it needs real life mental health help.
There is enough tragedy and disappointment in our world without people making up more.