Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o speaks during media day for the 2013 BCS National Championship NCAA football game in Miami, Florida, January 5, 2013.
For years, Notre Dame football linebacker Manti Te’o has been the focus of media attention for many reasons — his Mormon faith, his leadership as co-captain, his many awards making him “the most decorated player in college football history.”
But a still-evolving story in Deadspin today, with news of a dead girlfriend hoax and questions about Te’o’s culpability in the tale, is drawing attention to him for a whole other set of reasons.
The short version of a too-complex-to-summarize, got-to-read-it-to-believe-it story comes from the AP:
In an emotional speech to his fellow students the week after the deaths of his grandmother and apparent girlfriend, Te’o spoke of his faith. A practicing Mormon, Te’o passed on the customary, early-20’s Latter-day Saint mission to instead return to the football field where, his bishop told CNN, he thought he could do more good for the faith in the short-term. Here’s what he said to his fellow Irish (Te’o’s speech starts at 2:14):
You can watch more about the Te’o’s story, as it was then understood, in ESPN’s October interview with the football star. Te’o said:.
In the video, Te’o also gives his own accounting of how the tragedy unfolded.
Notre Dame’s subsequent win against Michigan was held, it was said at the time, “on the same day [his girlfriend] was buried.” Te’o explained to ESPN what he saw in the game’s spiritual significance: