This weekend at the NFL Combine, Manti T’eo will face the (non-Katie Couric/Jeremy Schaap) media for the first time since everything fell apart. In doing so, he’ll be asked questions that make him uncomfortable about issues he’d rather forget, and there’s a very good chance that his answers will disappoint.
“No comment,” he’ll say.
Or: “I’m not here to talk about the past.”
Or: “I will not rest until I find the real killer of my fake ex-girlfriend!”
Whatever actually happens, I doubt it will ease any confusion or help clarify the details behind . . . whatever actually happened. If anything, we’ll all end up more confused than we are now, as well as worn out from 10 minutes of cringing at the awkward back and forth.
“So, Manti . . . what does your inability to detect this obvious scam say about your ability to excel in the ruthless culture of the NFL?”
“Ummm . . . welllll . . .”
You know what I’d do if I was Manti?
1. Take the podium, and look every reporter directly in the eye.
2. Put my arm around the thin air to my right and say:
“Everyone I’d like you to meet Lennay. Doesn’t she look beautiful? She insisted on getting her hair done before we left for Indianapolis.”
3. Smile intently as the media erupts in laughter; so disarmed by the joke that they lose motivation to rake me over the coals.
If one of them doesn’t break and still feels the need to interrogate?
Stay the course.
Reporter: “Manti, what do you say to those who insist that you were in on the hoax all along.”
Te’o: “In on what? All I can say is that Lennay and I are so happy to be here, and can’t wait to start our new life together in whichever NFL city I end up. (Looks to the side) Isn’t that right, sweetheart?”
At this point, no one will be laughing, but they won’t be asking questions for much longer either. And then . . . it's smooth sailing.
Until the individual team interviews. He might need a different schtick for those.