Friday Skull Session

By Elika Sadeghi on January 18, 2013 at 6:00a

Happy Friday, and what a week it's been!

I went skydiving on Tuesday and thought that would be the most exciting thing all week, and then: BAM! No, not me on the ground, but the most intriguing non-sports story I've witnessed in the sports world broke the very next day.

There's something about jumping out of a plane that makes you feel like you can do anything, but then you realize that there are people out there that supposedly give "love of my life" status to someone they've never met, Skyped, or FaceTimed with. You put my bravery to shame, Manti. 

 WTF, MANTI? Deadspin broke the news on Wednesday that Lennay Kekua, Manti Te'o's deceased girlfriend, didn't exist, leading to the most interesting SportsCenter breaking news story I've ever seen. Wednesday evening provided a press conference loaded with Jack Swarbrick tears. While Thursday was supposed to bring a Manti Te'o interview, and failed to do so, it did provide old interviews, new theories, and the height of the new Te'oing trend.

SI's Pete Thamel, who did a story on Te'o for SI in October, posted another on Thursday that included transcripts from his interviews with Te'o in the fall, regarding Lennay Kekua. The most fascinating thing in the story is that regardless of how many red flags Thamel encountered (no obituary, no record of Kekua at Stanford, no stories about her car accident) and the fact that Te'o blatantly doesn't answer several of his questions directly, Thamel and SI decided to go with the piece anyway, just leaving out some details he couldn't confirm.

Everything's easier in hindsight, sure, but how does one not realize that when someone isn't answering the question you've asked them, they're hiding something from you?

SI: How did you meet her?
TE'O: We met just, ummmm, just she knew my cousin. And kind of saw me there so. Just kind of regular.

Just kind of regular? Really?! I'll have to try that to meet a man, sometime. Thanks for the tip, Manti!

SI: She has a Hawaiian sounding name. Is she from there?
TE'O: Her real name is actually Melelengei, but her friends couldn't say that so they just called her Lennay.


SI: What did she study?
TE'O: She graduated in 2011 or 2010. 2011.
SI: What was her major?
TE'O: Her major was in English and something. I'll double check.

Good to see y'all had some quality conversations in your EIGHT-HOUR PHONE CALLS!

SI: You have a wedding ring on?
TE'O: It's my church ring. I wear it to remember her. To remember my girlfriend.
SI: Did she give it to you?
TE'O: It's a CTR ring. It stands for choose the right. I always wore it. I had to switch it from my right to my left.


SI: Hit by a drunk driver. What were her injuries?
TE'O: I don't know. She had a lot of different injuries.

Best case scenario? Worst. Boyfriend. Ever.

SI: You would literally sleep with your phone on with her on it?
TE'O: With her on it.
SI: When you woke up?
TE'O: She's be on it.
SI: What would the phone say?
TE'O: Like eight hours. Lucky she had AT&T so it was all free or my family would kill me.

If your family was going to "kill" you for something, it should be for being a dumbass, not for your phone bill.

I wish I could show some more compassion for a guy who may legitimately have been "catfished" and duped in some way, but none of this makes sense. At best, Manti was madly in love with a girl he never went to visit following her brutal car accident or her diagnosis with cancer, so that's making it easier for me to sleep at night, even if I don't have Manti breathing on the other end of the phone.

LIAR LIAR. The other big story of the sports world on Thursday (sorry, Chip Kelly) was Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah that aired, in part, on Thursday night. Partly a big story because nobody has seen Oprah for a year, and partly because, for whatever reason, it appears "we" still care about Lance Armstrong.

Personally, I would've thought that ship had sailed a long time ago, but people are apparently still intrigued by the legend of a sport they honestly don't give two craps about. (Seriously, what gives? I don't get it.)

I didn't watch most of the interview, where Armstrong did admit to doping, lying, cheating, denying, and a host of other things. In the bits and pieces that I did watch, he came across as a man who had rehearsed coming across as sincere, but failed miserably when it came time to perform. For more reactions on the interview, with a little comedy swirled in, check out some Twitter reactions to the interview. Part two of the interview is scheduled to air on OWN tonight.

AP/ReutersAl Pacino to play Joe Paterno in "Happy Valley" based on "Paterno"

YOUR UPDATE ON ALL THINGS PENN STATE COACHING. Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien won the 2012 Paul "Bear" Bryant College Coach of the Year Award on Thursday night, making it his third national coach of the year award this year. O'Brien beat out Urban Meyer, Bill Snyder, Kevin Sumlin, David Shaw and James Franklin for the award. 

Frankly, as well as he did in his first year at Penn State (and yes, under very difficult circumstances), I find him to be a bit overhyped. Great arguments could be made for any of those other finalists, who have been snubbed all year due to this idea that O'Brien's job in 2012 was "impossible," an interesting concept, because 2013-??? are going to be much more difficult. Is he going to get this pass every year?

Speaking of Penn State coaches, it was also announced on Thursday that Al Pacino will be playing Joe Paterno in "Happy Valley," a film based on Joe Posnanski's best-seller "Paterno." In the words of my brother, "What a perfect fit. He'll get to play his most power-hungry character since Scarface."

CICERO. Remember that name? You should. He's the guy who emailed Tressel to warn him about Edward Rife, the tattoo parlor owner some of Tressel's players were getting too close to.

Thursday news broke that Christopher Cicero might possibly be found in contempt of court, as the Ohio Supreme Court is threatening to find him in content of court. It appears that Cicero had failed to file paperwork as part of his temporary law license suspension. Perhaps if he had just stopped sending pesky emails to Tress...

YOU CAN'T SPELL TURNOVER WITHOUT... Just kidding, he appears to be a good hire. The Browns announced on Thursday the hire of former San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner. Now, the question just becomes: what are they going to do with Weeden?

LINKS. LINKS. LINKS. I'd hate to link to Darren Rovell, but... Rooting for some Buckeyes in the post-postseason... I can't think of better ways to get through the offseason than watching things like this.... This one is pretty fun too... If you enjoy Malcolm Gladwell, this was an interesting read... Words Pat Haden should live by.

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