Speculation Over Manti Te’o’s Sexuality Grows
Being gay (or not) is the speculation of the Zeitgeist, so it isn’t surprising to see rumors of Manti Te’o sexuality going viral.
The story broke late yesterday when the website Deadspin reported that Manti Te’o inspirational story was a hoax.
The story instantly became a hot topic on morning talk shows and radio stations, with many speculating on whether Manti Te’o was a victim or a perpetrator.
In a posting on the Out Sports website, Cyd Zeigler jr. wondered "Is Manti Te’o gay? Girlfriend hoax has many people asking." In his summary of the Deadspin article, he implicates Te’o’s friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo as perpetuating the hoax, but that Te’o knew about it.
"I’ve heard from sports writers, fans of Outsports, leaders in the gay-sports world, and even old high school friends, in the last six hours all wondering, ’Is Te’o going to be the first openly gay NFL player?’
"I personally don’t know. But it seems to be the question everyone is asking. If he is, I hope he finds strength and acceptance; the vast majority of his friends, teammates and fans will support him whole-heartedly. If he’s not, I hope he can answer some questions, because people want to know why on earth he would concoct this totally fabricated story - including eight-hour phone calls - if they never happened.
"I can certainly understand why people think this might be pointing to his sexual orientation. There has never been a publicly out NFL player. There has never been a publicly out Div. 1 football player. But we know they’re out there. And if they were out there and wanted to hide their sexual orientation - or a relationship with another man - a fictitious girlfriend is a good way to do it. The fantastic story about car accidents and death by leukemia would just be showing off that stereotypical gay flair for the dramatic."
Later in the day the idea took root in more mainstream blogs such as the Huffington Post. In an article entitled "Manti Te’o Gay? Girlfriend Hoax Leads To Speculation On Sexuality Of Notre Dame Star," they reported others echoing similar sentiments.
One of the first to speculate about Te’o’s sexual orientation was LaVar Arrington, who hosts the radio show "The LaVar Arrington Show" and is a former NFL player. Arrington and his co-host Chad Dukes tried to theorize about Te’o involvement in the snafu.
"Let’s hypothesize, he’s gay," Dukes said. "He is a star football, college football player, with beautiful chicks surrounding him, propositioning him all the time with all kinds of media asking him ’Are you dating chicks? Do you have a girlfriend?’ all the time."
Arrington responded, "Is that the only sensible way of looking at this?"
"If he’s in on it, I can’t...I don’t... maybe there is other reasons but it makes a lot of sense," Dukes replied.
Clay Travis of "Outkick the Coverage" wrote that such a hoax may derive from a football player wanting to remain in the closet and suggested that the scenario "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."
Travis went on to imply the only way Te’o could ignore girls’ advances and avoid coming out was by creating a fake girlfriend.
"If you’re gay and girls are throwing themselves at you left and right but you continue to rebuff their advances, isn’t one of the easiest stories to tell your teammates about why you don’t hook up with any of these girls that you have a girlfriend?" he wrote.
HyperVocal’s Slade Sohmer picked up the thread and wrote, "A devout Mormon at a Catholic school, a rugged football player - these are communities that openly reject homosexuality, some of the last remaining vestiges of the decaying closet."
It should be noted that a professional active athlete on a major sports team has yet to come out. No individual in the NBA, MLB or NFL has announced that they are gay while playing on a team.
Just last week, Wade Davis, a former NFL player who announced he was gay after he retired, told the Daily Beast that it was easy to hide his sexual orientation "as long as you’re denying to yourself it’s not really real."
Watch the CBS This Morning feature about Manti Te’o: