Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o take lying to new heights

01/20/2013 12:00 AM

01/20/2013 12:17 AM

Wistfully I recall the olden days of lying in sports, back when things were simple, straightforward. A coach — let’s call him “ Nick Saban,” to use a totally random, made-up name — might deceive about his intentions and later be found to have lied. Remember how outrageous that seemed, once?

Now about the worst we could call that guy is a rank amateur, a man so clearly underdeveloped in the potential of lying and of what a fine art it truly can be in the right hands and minds.

So thank you, Lance Armstrong, and bless you, Manti Te’o, for raising the bar, for imbuing your tall tales with such gall (Lance) and such creativity (Manti) that future liars surely have their work cut out.

You both are first-ballot entries in the Hall of Making Stuff Up.

Lance, you reinvented chutzpah by looking America and the world in the eye for all those many years and indignantly denying whispers and reports that you won all those Tour de Frances by cheating. Oops, but then the evidence crashed in and so you did the Oprah mea culpa and finally admitted the whole thing was “one big lie.” (Now it turns out you may have lied during your Oprah Winfrey confessional. Perfect!) Livestrong? Liestrong, my friend. Liestrong.

Manti, you have brought verve and flare to an otherwise pedestrian art form. You were the star Notre Dame linebacker who tragically lost your girlfriend to leukemia this season. What a heartwarming human-interest story! Also, what a steaming mound of [bleep]. You even kept talking publicly about your girlfriend even after being told privately she didn’t exist. Turns out you may have been victimized by a hoax, by a lie begetting your lies. Perfect again!

So many of sports’ accomplished liars surely are genuflecting their respect.

Seasoned liars like Marion Jones and Pete Rose must be queuing for Manti’s autograph. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, on behalf of baseball Steroids Era, can no longer compete.

Tiger Woods’ serial infidelity seems so mundane.

All former Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton did was hide her double life as a prostitute. (That isn’t so much lying and simply not telling.)

Coach George O’Leary only lied on his résumé. Amateur!

“Thank you,” Jeffrey Loria is somewhere thinking. “Now I don’t seem so bad for saying a new ballpark would mean highly competitive payrolls and then scrapping that after one failed season.”

Meanwhile, Jerry Sandusky and Nevin Shapiro rot in separate cells, lamenting that all of their prolific lying went so grossly unrewarded.

Almost forgot. A few years ago there was a Nevada high-school lineman named Kevin Hart who staged an elaborate news conference to reveal he had accepted a football scholarship to Cal. Which would have been fine had Cal — or any other school — actually recruited him.

We can only speculate that perhaps a young Te’o, of a similar age, may have heard of that story and been inspired by the boundless magic of imagination.

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•  Giancarlo Stanton was named to the U.S. team for the upcoming spring World Baseball Classic. Hope he doesn’t take a tip from Cuban athletes and use the event as a chance to defect from the Marlins.
• Miami Hurricanes continue to await NCAA Notice of Allegations in Shapiro case. I don’t wanna say this has dragged on and on (and on), but I hear investigators have had trouble conducting interviews because so many of the former players involved have died of natural causes.
•  LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were voted in as starters for the upcoming NBA All-Star Game. In other news, the sun rose and the NRA said President Barack Obama is attacking the Second Amendment.
• A judge dismissed the Bountygate suit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell brought by the Saints’ Jonathan Vilma. Goodell celebrated excessively and fined himself.
• The Cleveland Browns hired TV analyst Michael Lombardi as VP of player personnel, mistakenly thinking they were hiring Vince Lombardi.
•  Mario Chalmers tied a Heat record with 10 three-pointers at Sacramento. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were disappointed, as it severely hindered their opportunities to yell at Chalmers.
•  Al Pacino will portray Joe Paterno in an upcoming movie. Hopefully, they’ll take a little creative license and have Pacino beat the crap out of Sandusky.
• In an upcoming episode of TV’s Law & Order, Mike Tyson will portray a convicted felon who had a tough childhood. Typecasting? Isn’t that sort of the role Tyson plays in life?
• Bankrupt Curt Schilling is selling his infamous bloody sock at auction and it is expected to fetch at least $100,000. Heck, Curt, why not blow your nose in the sock and double the price!?
• Answer: A suit filed in Miami-Dade claims the Spurs resting starters against the Heat in November violated Florida’s fair trade practices law. Question: What do you mean Americans are overly litigious?
•  Donald Trump landed in a helicopter with TRUMP painted on it to survey the Doral Golf Resort he purchased and renamed Trump National Doral. Know what I love most about Trump? The modesty.
•  Parting thought: Tiger Woods missed the cut last week after a two-stroke penalty for taking an improper drop. Woods previously had been penalized on several occasions for taking an improper mistress.

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily atMiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote.

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