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The Importance of the Truth

I’ve decided to call it a day on my real work and instead blog, because my head is about to explode with the news that Manti Te’o’s girlfriend didn’t exist. Didn’t. Exist.
You know– the girlfriend profiled and highlighted while the Fighting Irish, led in part by Te’o and his heartbreak, won game after game, before the Heisman trophy ceremony and during the national championship game.
So, the obvious question is, “how do we take what we have learned and better train our student-athletes for their media moment?”
I don’t think we need to change a darn thing. I’ve always stressed, “tell the truth,” “be honest” and “don’t lie.” Guess what? That sage advice covers this situation, too.
We can, however, stress these types of stories to students and student-athletes so that they understand how easy it is to get caught up in a sticky situations and how quickly the stories spin out of control. It’s easy to Tweet one-liners about Te’o story, but it is harder to grasp how a small story can grow to great embarrassment. Don’t believe me? Ask this week’s other poster child– Lance Armstrong.
Perhaps the bigger questions for our industry are, “when do we question stories that sound too good to be true?” and, if Te’o was a victim, “how do we protect our student-athletes from predators?”