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Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. (Associated Press)

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. (Associated Press)

Gazzolo: Time for Te’o to come clean on-camera

Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 12:45 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Somewhere, Jan Brady is rolling over in her bell-bottom jeans.

Or, maybe it is the family of Fran Liebowitz who is taking this the hardest.

As the world stopped to watch the saga of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o unfold before their eyes, we are all left to wonder who knew what, who knew it when and how did this last for so long.

Liebowitz was the first such death hoax that seemed to have worked, though it was done in reverse.

If you don’t remember her, she was killed in the movie “Animal House” during a gruesome kiln accident.

The boys of Delta House decided to take advantage of the situation despite never having met her. But at least you can find an obit of Liebowitz on the Internet.

Things did not go so well for the young Jan Brady.

She invented a boyfriend long before the Internet, Facebook or Twitter.

And if you don’t remember the famous George Glass, then your youth is showing.

Poor Jan wanted to get all the attention big sister Marcia was getting when it came to boys, so when nobody would ask her out, she created young Mr. Glass.

As a lesson to all of us, she got caught, was humiliated by friends and family and recovered in time for all to be fine by the end of the 30-minute episode.

If only the Manti Te’o mess lasted so long.

This is Day 6 of Manti held hostage. Or is it the rest of us being held hostage?

We await for the Notre Dame All-American linebacker to speak, to defend himself, to tell the world he was duped.

Better in this case to be the duper and not the dupie.

Is that right?

We are left to wonder if Te’o doesn’t one day tell coach Brian Kelly that when the chips are down and the breaks are beating the boys, that he should tell them to win one for the dupers, or the duped.

Either way, the best thing for Te’o to do now is to come out and tell the world how he was fooled by the woman he loved but never met.

Telling ESPN, like he did last Friday night without cameras, means he took the easy way out.

Sure there will be questions, but there are always questions from a sports media that often times has found itself loveless and making up things itself. Or, at least that is the public image.

Maybe Te’o should follow in the footsteps, or bike pedals, of Lance Armstrong and tell the world about his pain through the eyes of Oprah. From the very couch Tom Cruise proclaimed his love of Katie Holmes, Te’o can tell us all about the love of his life and how it all went so wrong.

Instead of Oprah, Te’o is reportedly set to speak on-camera with ABC’s Katie Couric.

But just when you think you have heard it all in this story we come to find out that Te’o was quick to move on from his dead girlfriend who he never met and never existed. He found another girl to date just a month or so after suffering such heartbreak. He even told us his non-existent dead girlfriend’s family was upset he had moved on.

Cheating isn’t allowed in the pretend after life, is it?

We can even see a picture of Te’o’s rebound love, whom he no longer is dating, sitting on Santa’s lap last Christmas.

See, no only can he met a real girl, but there, right before our eyes, proof that Santa exists.

God bless us all, every one.

I’m not trying to make light of the young man’s pain. Well, maybe just a little.

This is more about the way we became consumed by this story.

Armstrong goes on record and tells the world he committed one of the greatest lies in history, ruined the lives of countless others with his attacks and then hid behind the very charity he created.

All this right before our eyes, yet we are more worried about a hoax that was played on by all accounts a very sensitive young man.

Sensitive sucker or prolific liar?

We may never know the truth, but at best this is a victimless crime. The only real damage was done to the heart and reputation of Manti Te’o himself.

Meanwhile, Armstrong has left a path of victims in his wake. Some lives have been ruined forever.

Yet we have lost track of that while waiting to hear from Te’o.

Maybe Jan Brady would be proud.

• • •

Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at

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