Armstrong, the disgraced motorcyclist and profession spouse, we were ready for. His deception was years in the creating.
But until the mushroom reasoning of a Deadspin review wrapped his lifestyle Wed, Te'o was regarded to be all that was right and excellent about nfl and higher education soccer. He was more than an All-American linebacker from Notre Dame; he was an perfect, a design for reliability, sympathy and humbleness.
Te'o might still be all of those techniques. Or none of them. We still don't know for sure.
We do know he released a declaration saying that he was the sufferer of an intricate on the internet and telephone fraud. We know that his "girlfriend," and her loss of life from the leukemia disease, were the figments of somebody's depraved creativity. What we don't know is whether Te'o's creativity was engaged in the fraud.
Notre Dame says it wasn't. ND fitness home Port Swarbrick did more than attest to Manti Te'o reputation; he all but dared anyone to query it. The sufferer, said Swarbrick, wasn't basically Te'o himself, but also Te'o's purity, his unconditional wish to help others.
"There's a lot of disaster here," said Swarbrick in a Wed night information meeting. "There's a lot of sadness here. But the factor I am most sad of, sad about sorry … That the individual most relying on person I've ever met will never be able to believe in in the same way again in his lifestyle. That's an amazing disaster."
Swarbrick had to compose himself during the middle of that statement. Such is the level of his admiration for Te'o and the level of contempt for those whom he said did this to the Notre Dame star.
There was no wiggle room in Swarbrick's comments. He gave his unequivocal support and did so after citing the results of a private investigation commissioned by the university. In the end, said Swarbrick, Te'o was on the wrong end of a "very sophisticated hoax perpetrated for reasons we can't fully understand, but had a certain cruelty at its core."
I sat across from Te'o in the fall and listened to him tell his story of heartbreak. You know the details by now: On the same horrific day, he had learned that his grandmother had died, followed hours later by what he said was the news that his girlfriend -- the apparently fictitious Lennay Kekua -- had also passed away.
If he was lying, it was a performance for the ages. And if he wasn't, then clearly he believed, with all his heart, that both his beloved grandmother and Lennay had died within six hours of one another.
There remain those who simply can't believe that Te'o wasn't somehow complicit in the hoax. Nobody, they say, could be that naive, that trusting.
And despite Swarbrick's reasoned, passionate and mostly convincing defense of Te'o, there remain more than a few questions about the details of this bizarre, surreal story. Swarbrick's explanations were plausible, even believable, but in some instances, the Notre Dame AD said he couldn't comment on certain questions. Instead, he deferred to Te'o.
This can play out only two ways. Either Te'o is telling the truth or he's a Lance Armstrong-caliber liar. Either he is a victim of a pitiless hoax or part architect of it.
I want to believe Swarbrick. I want to believe Te'o. I want to believe there is a special place in hell for those who would prey on a person's better angels.
This is a story like no other. Armstrong … Te'o. You can't make this stuff up.