Linebacker Manti Te'o #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates his teams 22-13 victory over the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Friday, Jan. 18, 2013
It’s the basic element of what makes sports – well, sports.
It launches a baseball into the outfield seats. It propels a running back barrel through defenders for a touchdown. It sends that guard driving down the lane for the bucket. It’s what creates winning streaks and memorable teams, legends and legacy.
Momentum also makes Manti Te’o, Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds and Pete Rose keep up the charade.
The ball gets rolling, and even some of the greatest athletes in the world can’t stop it. And this week, the momentum is palpable.
Let’s just assume for a moment that Te’o wasn’t involved in this so-called hoax. I consider that the suspension of disbelief, but let’s just go with it.
Why, then, did he perpetuate the myth several times (two, according to the AP, one more according to ESPN) after he told Notre Dame officials that his girlfriend never existed?
For this, he has to be partly to blame. I maintain it’s more than partly, but that’s still to be determined.
Lance Armstrong told everyone who would listen that he’d passed 500 blood tests and never doped and was totally clean and that his accusers were wrong…and then completely reversed course with Oprah last night.
Why? Momentum. Armstrong even admitted it.
"All the fault and all the blame here falls on me. But behind that picture and behind that story is momentum. Whether it's fans or whether it's the media, it just gets going. And I lost myself in all of that,” Armstrong told Oprah.
Once tethered together by the momentum their lies created, now these two athletes are facing vastly differing circumstances.
Armstrong’s pendulum has stopped. His lies, his semantics, his saving face is over. We don’t know what his reasoning is for going public now with an admission that everyone already knew to be true. We do know it’s selfish.
But the cloud of confusion and comedy surrounding Te’o isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Right now the American public has that story clenched in its teeth and won’t let go until something bigger comes along.
The momentum has shifted from Te’o living a lie to the rest of us devouring every nugget of information we can get. Momentum doesn’t stop on a dime like the receivers Te’o is so great at defending. In this case, it will take time, it will take contrition and it will take answers.
A body in motion tends to stay in motion, and not even one of college football’s best linebackers or the greatest cyclist in history can stop it.
From Today’s Show:
-Points for Speed and Creativity: Minor league baseball is the absolute best when it comes to creative giveaways. This one is no exception. The Florence Freedom is having a Manti Te’o girlfriend bobblehead night . The first 1,000 fans will get – an empty box. They are also setting aside a section for fans and their imaginary friends and having an imaginary Kiss Cam. Mark your calendars for May 23.
Today’s Distracting Link:
Check out the Sistine Chapel.
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