If the Notre Dame linebacker at the center of the "girlfriend hoax" story indeed constructed an elaborate cover story for his gay closet, as so many gay men do in worlds that demand they be heterosexual, the emotional jolt of humiliation and embarrassment at being exposed will be overwhelming.
When the breaking news came yesterday, the most inspirational sports story of the year was revealed to be a lie. Today's news revolves around the question whether Te'o was a mere victim of a hoax or whether he had a hand in the deceit.
The ESPNs of the world have made "character" an attribute of athletic worthiness every bit as important as how fast someone runs the 40, or how far one can hit a baseball. In the process, the sports media complex has appropriated for itself the mantle of moral arbiter.