Catfish: Manti Te’o Style, and Other Alternatives For Positive Publicity

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If you haven’t been living under a rock, then yesterday you heard about Manti Te’o’s fake dead girlfriend. Long story short: The nation got duped by a publicity stunt which may or may not have included Te’o. Te’o and Notre Dame claim he was a victim of a catfishing prank, but according to the Deadspin article, it seems as if Te’o was in on the fabricated girlfriend. So what did we learn? Despite the fact that every week we (we as in I) love to watch the MTV show Catfish and get utterly creeped out by these people who pretend to be other people online. Catfishing and those who catfish (as defined by Urban Dictionary: A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.) are very real and serious problems that can happen to very real people like NCAA football players that play for Notre Dame. We also learned that some people have far too much time on their hands. So what was this all for? The cynic would say that Manti Te’o used his relationship with his albeit fake “girlfriend” and later her “death” from leukemia to garner positive publicity. To make fans sympathize with him, fall in love with the big cuddly bear that is Te’o. And so they did.

Whether or not Te’o was or wasn’t in on the whole scheme, he and his family still perpetuated the fake girlfriend and her fake death… eventually garnering tons of publicity from it. And it’s sad and embarrassing for them. Were I a college/pro athlete, my ways to garner publicity would be very different.

  • Invent an imaginary orphanage in which I house 15-20 children in need on any given day. It worked for Brangelina… although they have a real family full of adopted children.
  • Come out with a statement and say that I slayed the Lochness monster and/or Bigfoot. Youre instantly important in the public eye if you have something to do with these imaginary monsters. Instantly important… or seen as a crack pot.
  • Free cupcakes for everyone! Everyone loves free things. Especially cupcakes.
  • Reveal a sockline for Adidas with inspirational quotes. Oh wait. This has been done before.
  • Admit to the press that before I became a successful athlete, I was 400lbs overweight and morbidly obsese, and went to a Biggest Loser type fat camp, so once I retire from my sport, I will dedicate myself to helping alleviate the American obesesity problem! Nothing says “all-American” like an athlete trying to alleviate the country’s biggest problem! (no pun intended)
  • Try to make some cool trendy thing happen. Like Tebow-ing, or Aaron Rodgers’ championship belt move, or Lil B’s cooking dance. Everyone loves that shit when it goes viral.
  • Tell the press that I had a revelation from a higher power in which they revealed that I am the chosen one to lead my team to the playoffs. Fans will love me after this and worship the ground I walk on.
  • Play in the BCS Championship and win, and have the country (and commentators) fall in love with your REAL LIFE girlfriend. Sorry. I had to go there. I realize that was a double hit against Notre Dame. Nothing at all against Notre Dame, seriously.

I mean, these are just some ideas, obviously. While we wait to see how this will effect Manti Te’o’s standing in the NFL draft, I will be waiting for Nev Schulman to visit Hawaii and knock on doors and do his revealing catfishing thang. Imagining the episode now: Nev gets an email from a victim, Manti Te’o, who needs Nev’s help because he really wants to meet his GF, IRL (in real life, obvi). Nev is cute and excited and he and his brother jet on a plane to Hawaii, or Notre Dame, and meet with Manti who tells them how in love he is with his GF who lives in CA. Nev and his brother do intricate and intensive research online and find that GF is a fake, and the person in the pictures is some rando. They follow all leads and find that the person behind Manti Te’o’s GF’s profile is some dude. They tell Manti Te’o, who could easily pummel the two cute small Jewish artsy hipsters, but instead he responds with tears and says he still wants to meet the person he fell in love with online. Together they all travel to the random dude….

Where you at Nev and your equally cute filmmaking brother? Someone’s story needs to be told via MTV. [image via]





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