Two huge (and overwhelmingly negative) stories are rumbling through the sports media landscape this week. And it seems like the two names connected to these stories, all by themselves, are enough to spark a significant reaction in your guts – Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o.
Two heroes. Two men who battled health and heartache (respectively), emerging victorious.
I wrote about Lance Armstrong back in August, when he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling. Yesterday, the IOC stripped Armstrong of the Olympic bronze medal he won in 2000. Tonight, OWN airs part one of two Oprah Winfrey/Armstrong interviews, in which Armstrong allegedly admits to doping and implicates others in the deep maze of his scandal.
Manti Te’o’s story is still emerging, and it feels just as fishy as Armstrong’s did back in August. Time will certainly tell, because the spotlight on this one is shining brightly. Each layer that’s peeled back from this story feels a little bit ickier.
The nation seems to be collectively cringing as more details emerge about a story they came to know so well this season – the story of a girlfriend dying of leukemia, the pain and heartbreak channeled into Te’o’s breakout performances and his finishing #2 in the Heisman race. A story that was never true at all.
Yesterday, Deadspin broke the story about Te’o’s girlfriend having never existed. Notre Dame followed up with a statement, and Te’o released his own, both asserting that Te’o was the victim of an elaborate hoax. But stories from currently-anonymous teammates alleging that Te’o played along with the story knowing full well this woman was not his girlfriend are starting to find their way to the public.
I have to ask (and sample from Paula Cole) again. Where have all the cowboys gone?