Dr. Reality Steve & Thoughts on Manti Te’o

January 17th, 2013 | 45 Comments | Posted in Dr. Reality Steve

Doesn’t look like there will be a live video blog this week. Too much craziness going on right now to focus on that, but it will return at some point. I promise. If you are looking for the spoilers to Sean’s season, you can get them by clicking here. Anyway, before we get to today’s “Dr. Reality Steve” emails, let me just briefly touch on the Manti Te’o situation since, well, this is a dating/relationship/sex column, and Manti the Liar seems to have been Catfished in this situation, although calling him a “victim” in this is absurd, and I’ll explain why.

Even if you’re not a sports fan, this story is fascinating in about 100 different ways. So just for a mini refresher course, if you’ve been living under a rock since yesterday and don’t have a clue what this story about, first read DeadSpin.com’s excellent investigative report on the story. It explains everything. Of course after the story broke, everyone and their mother on Twitter had a joke or a response – and most were hilarious. I’m sorry, but I think Manti Te’o jokes will be funny for the next 10 years. He’s basically made himself into a punchline at this point for his ignorance, his compulsive lying, and his naivete. But the two best pieces I read last night were from Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com and from Clay Travis of OutkicktheCoverage.com. Both also excellent pieces that are well thought out, well reasoned, and ask the questions I think most people are asking.

We haven’t heard Manti’s side yet, which we are supposed to get today. Regardless of what he says today, nothing will convince me he’s not a compulsive liar and embellisher, and that’s at BEST. I still think he was in on the whole thing and knew much earlier than December he wasn’t dealing with a real girlfriend, but I’ll hold off judgment until I hear him speak. With that said, what Manti can’t dispute, is that from Sept. 12th of this year (the supposed “death” of his “girlfriend”), until he got that phone call in December realizing he may have been part of a hoax, Manti Te’o trotted out this girlfriend story to every single national outlet that he could. Every interview he did he was asked about his girlfriend who was in a car accident then died of Leukemia and all he could do was sing the praises of his girlfriend, how much she meant to him, she was his soulmate, they’d spend hours on the phone every single night before bed talking, on and on and on and on he went. And it was a great story. Who wouldn’t believe it? But when any of us were sitting there listening him to talk about her, or when we hear ANYONE talk about their significant other, we’re obviously under the impression the person he’s talking about is someone he’s actually met in person. He never met her! That’s not opinion. Those are facts.

So you can see why people are skeptical. Who in their right mind calls someone a girlfriend and glorifies their love for her when: 1) they’ve never met them, 2) never visited them after their car accident or while suffering from Leukemia (which wouldn’t that make him the worst boyfriend ever?), 3) and never even showed up at the funeral – which never happened because she never existed. It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. He’s not a victim, and this is not “Catfish.” At least on Catfish, the other person is real. They’re just not who they say they are once finally meeting for the first time. Manti never met Lennay Kekua, yet for 3 years called her his girlfriend. And played up her “death” to the media for 3 months. It’s all very suspect and pretty much unbelievable. There are thousands of questions surrounding him, and none of his story makes sense. Yes, we know Catfishing happens, but the way Manti exaggerated his relationship with her makes this ridiculously shady. He did interviews for three months playing up the death of his “girlfriend” who he’d never met. Period. End of story. That lie in and of itself makes him a bona fide idiot. He can’t be a victim if he perpetuated the lie. Lets see where else this story takes us because I’m sure there’s more twists and turns coming. And I’m fascinated by all of it.

45 thoughts on “Dr. Reality Steve & Thoughts on Manti Te’o

  1. The Manti story is WAY more fascinating than anything going on in Bachelor-world, and ironically, I was googling it right before checking out Steve’s site this morning and for a second there I thought I hadn’t gone to the right bookmark when I saw his blog header. I haven’t done any kind of extensive reflection/research, but my conclusions so far match up with his – there were just too many false details coming straight from Manti about this supposed relationship to believe he really thought it was real. I hope he gets some help to figure out how he got himself into such a crazy situation and how to keep from digging the same kind of hole for himself in the future. It’s really irrelevant to me that he duped the general public, but if he spun the same story and details to his family and close friends, then he’s really damaged his relationship with them. Talk about having to “regain trust” – whew – nothing he says from here on out will ever be taken at face value. On the other hand, maybe this is a pattern of behavior that they’ve seen from him before and most of them already take what he tells them with a grain of salt and it really is mostly us strangers who were completely duped.

  2. To the woman wondering about whether it’s her or the men she’s dating, I would ask, how are you meeting these men? Is it through online dating? In my experience, a lot of men on dating websites are just looking for nookie, not a relationship. Not to say that all guys are there for that, but I’ve encountered a lot that are. Especially on certain sites. Maybe take a closer look at what site(s) you’re using, and what these guys are saying to you when you’re chatting/texting, etc. Do they want to get to know you? Or are they just flirting/sexting? The answer to that will tell you a lot.

    But if you’re not doing online dating, then where are you meeting these guys? Bars? Grocery stores? Church? Are friends setting up blind dates? The location and situation matters when you’re talking about meeting a potential boyfriend/husband. If you’re going to bars, then stop. You won’t find the kind of relationship you’re looking for there. Grocery stores can be good, as well as church or any other community-type organization. If friends are setting you up, then I’d tell your friends their choices for you are all wrong!

    Bottom line is, your values are not matching up with the guys you’re dating. You’ll have to find a different way to meet the kind of guy you want. Good luck! :)

  3. I totally agree with you about Mantao or whatever his name is. I don’t watch sports and had no idea who this kid was before today .I was watching quick coverage of it and was under the impression they had met in person since he was claiming she was the love of his life etc. I was so confused as to why people were so into the story but then I saw they never met! What a weird story!

  4. Lance Armstrong —- liar

    Manti Te’o —- desperate to stay in the closet.

    That’s more like it.

  5. bigfatwoman – If it were only that simple. Lance is owning up in a BIG time way – granted, he’s just beginning the recovery process, and he has a long long way to go, assuming he’s willing to do the work to get there. But, while real empathy for others is far from where he is yet, he is taking personal responsibility, an extremely important first step in the process. We should never underestimate the power of Denial. It’s not simply a “choice”…it’s an incredibly powerful defense mechanism. Incredibly!…!!!

  6. I see Manti and Lance as being in dramatically different places emotionally, cognitively, and developmentally. Lance, with all his MANY faults, is a grown up, and seems to have done some work on himself (finally) to get to where he is now. Manti is so much younger, less sophisticated, and less able to be honest, so far. I believe it will take a long long time, if ever, to learn what was really real in his case.

  7. Te’o tried to gain sympathy to win the Heisman. Even talked about her on the presentation broadcast AFTER he knew she didn’t exist! Not buying any of it!

  8. @Athena. The only reason Armstrong is putting it out there now, is because he a) got caught, and b) wants back into the bike racing world. He’s a greedy, gutless, individual, who I, and I’m sure millions more, have NO sympathy for whatsoever. I am so glad his Olympic metal was stripped from him..he deserves nothing, absolutely nothing! To think he was using his cancer foundation as a coverup??!! Denial my butt!!

  9. I agree with Steve and heliofan. I’m not buying any of Manti’s crap. I’m not sure if I believe that he did all this to cover up being a homosexual as many are speculating, but regardless, the whole thing is just odd.

    Re: Lance, the people I feel sorry for are all of the young children that viewed him as a hero all these years. I had to read his book “It’s Not About the Bike” years ago for a work training program and thought he came across as an arrogant jerk. I’ve never been a Lance Armstrong fan and now I know my intuitions weren’t off at all. I’m glad he’s finally owning up to it all now though.

  10. It’s not really owning up to it if you got caught. You don’t get credit for admitting something like that. It’s like having an affair, your wife finds out and then you expect points for admitting it to her. You got caught buddy. Plain and simple. Aside from that, you attacked people’s character. People who were onto you. He’s still a liar.

  11. To the girl who can’t get rid of the guy with flowers – if you don’t want to change your number, I know my phone provider allows me to block up to 5 numbers for 90 days. You can try that. Just call them to see if the feature is available. I can do this from their website. Easy breezy.

    Steve – any chance you think this Manti thing is a publicity stunt? Or is the guy really stupid enough to believe he was in a relationship with someone he never met? I mean, I realize plenty of people are that stupid due to the existence of the whole Catfish thing, and maybe he didn’t need the publicity, but it kinda sounds like it was a stunt and he got caught and admitting he lied is worse for his career than saying he was stupid. I think the former is potentially career-ending, whereas the latter is just more press. Just a thought.

    Also, thanks for that NYT article. Very spot on. I posted it on FB and sure enough my friend just gave me a story about how this guy she met in the summer finally texted her this week to go on a date, but he wanted to wait until Sat night, because he wanted to “do it right.” He then waits until 7:30pm Sat night and texts her with – you guessed it – “hey”. He then proceeds to invite her over to cook dinner and do laundry. She declined. I guess skid marks are a deal-breaker for a first date invite.

  12. @ Vanilla Thunder – EXCELLENT advice!!! We all know what websites you are referring too… I went on maybe 2 dates (years ago) from one of those websites, went to dinner on both and that was it, only 1 date. I guess I lucked out and didn’t get a sex crazed guy!!! However I tried 2 of the better ones as well and meet some bad guys, same great guys (who I am still friends with) and I met THE ONE there too…. To add to her what you stated, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet a good one.

  13. Kaleb, you’re absolutely right, and I hadn’t thought of it like that. It’s too little, too late. I suppose what I meant was I’m glad he finally publicly admitted it.

  14. @Athena

    Are you serious? What’s with this comment of yours….. “bigfatwoman….if it were only that simple.” You must be kidding right? As if Lance is in the process of some deep spiritual awakening in his path to enlightenment and redemption?

    The guy is a complete sociopath. He doesn’t feel remorseful about ANYTHING except for the fact that he got pushed up against a wall and is doing whatever his legal team tells him to do…..which was his Oprah confessional. He don’t care. Did you see any tears shed? I didn’t because I can’t stand to watch him, but I read about the interview. He is saying and doing whatever he is told to do in order to get back into sanctioned triathlons and dilute the deluge of lawsuits that are coming down the pike.

    He stepped on so many people and damaged so many lives with his deceit…..all while laughing all the way to the bank. After he stepped down, did you see the picture he tweeted of himself just relaxing in his basement with his 7 jerseys on display behind him? He’s an arrogant, lying little boy with no conscience whatsoever.

    To believe this guy has remorse or regret is just plain naive. He is not like most people.

  15. Whew, bigfatwoman and Dianne, I’m glad the two of you can read into his heart of hearts and know whether he’s really being sincere now or not. Granted, he has a TERRIBLE track record of not only lying but of attacking those who outed him, all of which he admitted completely in last night’s interview. As he himself pointed out – no one has any reason at all to believe him or trust anything out of his mouth. Time will tell whether he is capable of sincerity and real remorse. Meanwhile, I know for a fact that sometimes people commit horrendous affronts against others and later CAN and DO honestly take responsibility for their behavior and do their best to make amends. I’ve spent a big part of my career working with just such people. Sure, some just go through the motions and have secondary motivations that are way less than honorable, and some are genuinely sorry but never get far enough into recovery to make amends, but there are some who truly do admit to what they’ve done, take full responsibility for it, figure out why they did what they did, learn from it not to do it again, and make amends to those they’ve harmed. It does happen and it is possible.

  16. I’m interested in watching tonight’s interview segment and to hearing what Oprah’s thoughts and reflections on the experience are.

  17. I usually think Steve’s advice is right on, but I disagree with his advice to the girl whose boyfriend made fun of her on his blog. Whether his blog is visited by ten people or a thousand, he publicly humiliated her by making her look like a moron. And the fact that she knows beforehand how he’ll react if she tells him how he’s made her feel – “Hey, it’s just a joke!” – is a bad sign. I used to know someone like that – he’d insult or humiliate someone, and when they complained, he’d reply “Hey, I was just joking – don’t you have a sense of humour?” – totally discounting their feelings. And why would he publicly humiliate a girl he (supposedly) cares about? I would be very wary of this guy.

  18. Steve’s initial take on teh Manti story is off. Not shocking, because it really is an odd story.

    First, as to the catfish, there was actually a girl involved. Her name is Diane O’Meara. Been reported all over now. Google her. She is actually pretty hot. Her photo was used, and she knows more than she is saying presently.

    Next, 3 people admitted to being in on the scam. 3 people. Including a cousin.

    Yeah, Manti embellished things with respect to the girl. He oversold hte story for the attention, so he is guilty of that. But the rest was a hoax, and he took the bait. So it was a catfish. with a strange twist.

  19. Yes @Athena, people can and do change. Amen sister, I’m with ya on that.

    You also must know that there is no amount of therapy to cure those born without a conscience. I hope you’re right that he’s genuinely remorseful, but just as you said that I cannot “look into his heart” ….neither can you. He unfortunately shows all of the hallmarks of sociopathy. Time will tell.

    Meanwhile, I’m waiting patiently for Bernie Madoff to change too.

  20. bigfatwoman, LOL about Bernie Madoff…Somehow I just don’t have the same kind of sympathy for him as compared for my hope, guarded though it may be, for Lance.

  21. I’ve never been a big fan of Armstrong ever since the rumors that he dumped his wife who supported him through his cancer for Cheryl Crow. I didn’t dislike him but, if true, just thought it said something about his character. I’m really not buying that he is sincere but as others above have said it’s not my place to judge and I’m not the one he has to make amends with.

  22. Monteal-person. I agree with you 100% Humiliation is humiliation whether it is seen by 1 person or thousands. If he made her feel like crap, she should move on. It can never get better. This is a larger problem than most recognize.

    Steve seems like a good person that doesn’t understand the mental abuse that some inflict with this type of behavior. It’s a control issue.

  23. i know ive been busy the last few days, but i really HAVE been hiding under a rock! granted, ive been working 10hr days, changing salons, and have had limited time online, but that is no excuse! its embarrassing that i have no clue whats going on with manti? id never heard of him before, so i hoped to contribute to the conversation by reading deadspin’s article, which, ultimately, left me even more confused.. can anyone explain, simply, what happened? he is gay and had a pretend online gf that was a real girl, just not the girlfriend that died? but that girl didnt really die.. but his gma really died. wth is going on? help!

    as for lance, i have never cared for him.. hes always seemed like an arrogant jerk.. he absolutely deserves what the back-lash he is receiving, publicly, at least.. hopefully he does “change” for himself as a person.. but as for his career, the damage is done. and i have zero sympathy for him. he reminds me of this guy that used to be a star athlete… he played golf, still does, in fact! won a PGA title, graced the cover of wheaties “the breakfast of champions,” and shares his name with the largest cat family known to man.. not a lion, but a…. he isnt sorry. hes sorry he got caught.

  24. i think it was the line “the breakfast of champions” that is preventing my comment from being displayed.. its been awaiting moderation for 24hrs..

  25. Lance Armstrong- a liar and cheater who deserves getting his medals and titles stripped from him, and owes a lot of apologies and money to those he defrauded and misrepresented, such as his sponsors, the several people (fellow teammate and also a journalist) who all told the truth and then Armstrong sued them for libel and character defamation and WON more than a mlion dlars each even though they were honest and HE was lying. But, let’s not forget all of the good stuff he’s done raising money for kids with cancer with all of his charity work- his only saving grace right now.

    Manti Te’o-
    if innocent: a young, confused, niave, lonely, trusting, somewhat delusional, and desperate 22-year-old guy on the inside while wildly successful in football to his fans. He obviously was embarrassed when he found out he was duped, and played along with his charade awhile longer until he could figure out what to do.

    If guilty of being a part of the hoax: all of the above, but also completely delusional in thinking he could get away with it!

    It seems too weird and unbelievable for him to call a woman he’s never met his girlfriend, but who knows? The truth will come out soon….

  26. **randomness**
    did anyone catch the movie with rob lowe, “prosecuting casey anthony” tonight?

  27. @Kasey – “breakfast of champions” BAHAHAHAHAHHAHAA sorry for some reason this tickled me.

  28. @Athena – you are so off base, it’s rediculous. Did you see how much Armstrong was paid for the Oprah interview? Did you see how much he was paid for the rights to his story? Oh yeah, he’s a changed man..from where I stand, it’s changed for the worse (if that’s possible), instead of for the better. Greed, greed, greed. He cares not one iota about anyone other than himself. BUT, as the saying goes, what goes around, comes around. Heads up, Lance, because eventually you’re going to get it, big time!

  29. I’ve read and listened to a lot about Lance Armstrong over the years, and while he did do a good thing with Livestrong, I believe he got caught, feels no remorse, bullied and threatened many people and is not a not human being. Some of the newscasts questions whether Livestrong was a way to distract people from his issues. I can’t say for sure, and don’t want to think someone would go that far to cover up their many terrible life choices. I’ve read many articles about what an arrogant SOB he is, and believe the people making those comments. He seems to be a narcissistic a**. The guy could care less about anyone but himself.

  30. @karnyr – I pretty much agree with most of what you’ve said about L.A. in terms of how he’s harmed others and about the self-centeredness of his personality. But, does that mean you think he’s beyond redemption/change? If so, you repudiate just about everything my profession stands for in terms of treatment, hope, and change. Further, you seem to be saying that there can only be one side of a person and in his case it’s all bad. I don’t believe either of these. I believe a person (yes, even Lance) can accept responsibility for his horrendous actions, can honestly make amends to those they’ve harmed, and can lead a better life. Will Lance commit to the years of hard work such changes would involve? Only time will tell. I also believe that we’re all more than any one aspect of our personality and behavior. Perhaps Livestrong served as a front and an attempt to distract, but it still did an awful lot of good. Armstrong’s motives almost certainly had a selfish component, but I still believe his fight against cancer touched a core place inside him that made him want to give back. We humans are complex organisms.

  31. @iheart My comment wasn’t directed at yours..(the moderation makes comments line up out of order) but yes, I do see what you’re saying. There’s some people your body and mind just warn you about.

    @kasey I caught the movie.. it was..strange. I followed the case every day on TV (in session) and it’s always been so funny to me how Lifetime can take so many liberties.

  32. @ kasey31 – I watched it…. It was pretty good. Rob Lowe did a good job with his role. I still can’t believe she got off!

  33. @kaleb and jovismom- yay! i thought i might find a few of us who followed that case and watched the movie.. i agree, kaleb.. the movie was a bit strange.. not what i expected, but i thought rob lowe did an amazing job.. i cant believe she got away with it either, jovismom, i think it will go down as one the greatest miscarriages of justice in history.. i was so invested in that story and remember actually crying when the verdict came in, but i felt some closure after watching it..

  34. Athena, I’ve always been a big believer in people changing their ways, bettering themselves and learning and evolving from lifes mistakes and lessons.

    But, I also look at patterns and history, because that is the best indicator of future behavior. Yes, people can change for the better and redeem themselves. I’m a glass half full person, unless the evidence is so damning, I’m not sure the person can change. I hope for Lance’s sake he learns from this. There have been so many stories about threats and bullying on his part, maybe he’s see the error of his ways. And just maybe he’ll one day speak from the heart, share the honest story and ask forgiveness for those he hurt and scammed.

  35. @ Private Practice: This isn’t a reality tv show, but I just saw a promo where they said tonight’s show will be the series finale…I’m bummed. Sometimes the show was sort of ridiculous, but more often than not, there were relevant issues being addressed through their soapy format. To me, it was much better than Gray’s Anatomy in that regard. Does anyone else watch it?

  36. @Athena- I watch Grey’s, but was never able to get into Private Practice. In all fairness though, I only watched a couple of episodes in its first season. A few of my friends love it and think it’s better than Grey’s. I haven’t been impressed by this season of Grey’s because they’re trying to focus too much on the new group of interns, and their storylines are boring to me. I like when they stick to the original characters.

    @kasey, I noticed that the Casey Anthony movie was on late last night so I DVR’d it. I will have to watch it once I’m caught up on all my other shows. :) I can’t wait to see it, especially now that I know Elizabeth Mitchell is in it. Loved her on Lost!

    @Karyn, well said, and I found myself nodding with you in your response to Athena. I try to view the glass as half full too and find the best in people but Lance has yet to convince me that he’s learned from his lesson and is truly sorry. From what I saw in the Oprah interview, he did not appear to be remorseful or genuine.

    Looking forward to Steve’s Bachelor recap. Anyone else think Kacie’s cocktail party dress looked like she was late to her aerobics class in 1987? Hideous!!

  37. @iheart- yes, that scrunchie!!! i cant for the life of me understand what her intentions were in telling sean about desiree and amanda? why would she do that, and why would he care? so dumb.. bye, bye, kacie!

  38. and did i mention that creepy smile of hers? its a bit of “im the sweet girl-next-door” mixed with “i might watch u while youre sleeping” kind of look.. ok, next column!

  39. Gah, completely agree about Manti. Sure, you can be infatuated with someone you met online, but there is no way you are in love and in a relationship for three years without ever having met, or even skyped. Just dumb.

    Here’s my theory…maybe Manti has some sort of off-shoot version of Munchausen by Proxy?

  40. Private Practice

    Athena, I watched Private Practice for a few seasons and really enjoyed it. Did you watch the one where they did the intervention on McDreamy’s sister? That was some really good acting and very heart-wrenching. I stopped watching shortly after that season.

    I used to love Grey’s too, but haven’t watched that one in a while either.

  41. @JovisMom – thanks! I know I’m responding a week late, so you probably won’t even see this. Oh well. But anyway, I did my share of the online dating thing, and boy, did I meet a lot of frogs! But happy ending – I met my hubby at church, so that’s why I recommend that to other single people. :)

  42. I read the the guy who pranked Manti, Ronaiah, will be interviewed by Dr Phil next week. Ronaiah watched the Katie interview with Dr Phil. So Dr Phil should have some insight into this young man’s psyche just from observing him and hearing his comments while watching Manti with Katie.

    I also read that Ronaiah as a child emotionally shut down and started forming a female personal. After reading some other things about him, it seems he could be a woman trapped in a man’s body.

    As for Manti’s sexuality, Manti has lived in such a bubble – family, religion, and football, he appears to be very immature, probably sexually as well. He probably hasn’t had many experiences to even discover his true sexual identity. But if he says he is straight, then I have no reason to doubt him and don’t really care.

    Ronaiah is definitely a young man who needs professional help. Maybe Dr Phil will be able to get him that help.

    I wish Manti the best in the NFL draft. I think he will learn and move on from this with his family’s strong support. However, Ronaiah may actually need serious psychiatric help !!

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