If you’re a die-hard sports fan, you likely remember where you were when you first saw Deadspin’s story on Manti Te’o’s “dead girlfriend” Lennay Kekua being a hoax. There’s no doubt it was one of the most eye-opening sports stories of our time.
But was it the most shocking sports story of the last 10 years? Former ESPN reporter and current Action Network employee Darren Rovell suggested so on Twitter on Tuesday and was promptly challenged. Thousands of users responded with their opinions on the matter.
Rovell’s tweet came in response to ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. announcing that the network would be doing a “Backstory” feature on the story. It’s hard to believe it’s been over eight years since the whole thing happened.
The most shocking story in sports in the last decade… https://t.co/tBVrdBHMoH
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 30, 2020
The most common response, which won’t surprise anyone, was the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others this past January. But there were plenty of other submissions, including the Aaron Hernandez saga, the Jerry Sandusky scandal and COVID-19 essentially shutting down the sports world.
Kobe’s and his daughters death?
— hamilton (@Hamiltonalv) June 30, 2020
Eh, I think Joe Pa letting kids get molested in his football program and people still cheering for the team and supporting him was pretty shocking, personally.
— Barstool Sports Discord (@barstooldiscord) June 30, 2020
You forgetting that the Pats TE murdered multiple people?
— Sam (@SamInCleveland) June 30, 2020
That said, it’s hard to deny that the Te’o story wasn’t a huge deal. Most of the country hadn’t been exposed to the concept of catfishing, and in the aftermath, there were televisions shows and movies made about it. Te’o, knowingly or not, helped accelerate the public’s understanding of the issue.
Te’o went on to be drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He’s played for the Chargers and the New Orleans Saints in his career thus far. He’s mostly stayed out of the public light.
Sports fans – what’s the most shocking sports story in the last decade for you?