Sports

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

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.

Stephen Ross

Giancarlo Stanton



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Parting thought:

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

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