Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o tragically lost his grandmother and his girlfriend in the span of six hours last September.
The heartbreaking and inspiring story—Te'o went on to lead his team to a 12-0 season before being embarrassed in the BCS National Championship Game—helped catapult the talented athlete into the national spotlight.
The "hero overcomes obstacles" narrative had legs, in part because it was what we wanted to believe. (See my blog from last week.) But now that the girlfriend part of the story has been exposed as a hoax, everyone is filling in the blanks again, based on their predispositions:
Te'o is a fame-hungry fraud. He is an innocent kid who was duped. Te'o is gay and the imaginary girl was his "beard." It was an elaborate gambling scam to obtain inside information about Notre Dame's football team. And on and on and on.
When the whole story is revealed, it's likely to be far more complicated (or simpler) than any of those capsulizations.
In the meantime, we'll just fill in the blanks ourselves.
SPORT TALK SPIN (follow-up): If Manti Te'o was duped, he's too gullible and naive to be a successful NFL player. If he lied, he'll never be trusted or respected by his teammates.