Amidst the groundbreaking sports news reported by Deadspin on Wednesday — that the story of Manti Te’o’s dead girlfriend was a hoax — there is growing sentiment that Manti Te’o may be a closeted homosexual.
As this Huffington Post piece points out, some people are finding it the only feasible explanation for the bizarre story. The piece quotes Clay Travis of Outkick the Coverage as writing: “This is actually the only story that makes any sense at all. And even if it's true, Te'o will probably deny it because, unfortunately, football players aren't exactly the most welcoming of homosexuality.”
Meanwhile, the internet has overflowed with tweets, memes, and jokes poking fun at the fake girlfriend. Whether it’s Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks making Lennay Kekua the “Lovely Lady of the Day” and leaving a blank space where a picture should be or people “Te’o’ing”, the online community has had a field day with the hoax.
But what if Manti Te’o is gay? What if this entire hoax was set up so that he didn’t have to admit that he was?
He is about to be a first round pick in the NFL Draft and he is a Mormon, those are two traits that usually don’t coincide with being gay.
Yes, if Te’o was in on the fake girlfriend death and everything, it is despicable, but shouldn’t we also be looking at the issue of a star athlete unable to come out?
This would be the highest profile athlete to ever come out. And due to the spotlight Te’o currently finds himself in, it would be incredibly courageous for him to do so. Most sports stars who come out did so after their playing careers were over. With Te’o, it would be just as his was getting going.
Maybe Te’o isnt’ gay. Maybe he really was duped by a fabricated online girl. If he is gay, though, amidst all of the online scrutiny, how can he come out now?