Thursday, January 17, 2013

An alternative theory on Manti Te'o: he's gay?

Listening this morning to the Gary Radnich Show on KNBR, one of his sidekicks, Kate Scott, who is a lesbian, suggested a theory on the Manti Te'o hoax that had never occurred to me: that Mr. Te'o could be gay, and that he invented the Lennay Kekua "girlfriend," where he had this female lover who lived far away and who he never visited, because he did not want anyone to think he was a homosexual, but he had no interest in dating real women.

Ms. Scott, who was a competitive athlete at Cal-Berkeley, said that when she was in college, she made up a boyfriend, because she was not yet ready to admit to her friends and family that she was gay. In reality, Kate said, she actually was dating a girl. But she never let any of her friends or family see this girl. Instead, she told them the person she was seeing was a male, and no one had any reason to doubt her. However, Ms. Scott said, after about six months of living that lie, it became too difficult to contain. Lies built upon lies and she decided she had to "come out" to her family.

I have no idea if any of that is what happened to Mr. Te'o. However, it sounds plausible on its face. And, in fact, if the Lennay Kekua story was a hoax of Te'o's invention, I would guess that, if he is gay and he does say that he invented her for the purposes of hiding his homosexuality from those around him, that explanation would probably be much less damaging to him than it turning out that he had concocted this story to gain sympathy and publicity in an effort at self-promotion and attention-seeking.

I think most people, gay or not, can understand a cover-story of the kind that Kate Scott used. In his case, it simply grew out of control and he did not know how to stop it. But if the truth is that he was simply a narcissist who was chasing attention and public sympathy, that is clearly pathological behavior and suggests a very deep character flaw.

Conceding there is some chance the Kate Scott-theory is correct, I would still put it at more than 50 percent likelihood that he was the victim of a hoax, because he is incredibly dumb, and that he lied (in order to embellish the story) by saying that he had met Lennay Kekua in person. But I am certainly not 100 percent sure that Te'o did not invent the hoax.

UPDATE: Apparently Kate Scott is not the only person who has suggested Te'o might be gay. Here is a link.

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