If Manti Te’o wants to play in the NFL, he’ll need to come clean to Katie Couric, a top sports psychologist insists.
In a preview of Couric’s exclusive interview, airing today on KATIE the Notre Dame football star admits he lied about the death of his fake girlfriend.
But Te’o, 21, can save his reputation — and career — by opening up further about his role in the elaborate hoax, Dr. Donna Dannenfelser tells me.
“This may be the moment when he will either make this bigger than it is or begin the journey of making it go away,” says Dannenfelser, who has treated dozens of professional athletes and is the inspiration for USA Network’s NECESSARY ROUGHNESS.
“If the truth comes out — whatever it may be — the public will deal with it, he will take whatever hits he is going to get and then it will go away. If he keeps trying to hide whatever it really was about, his stories won’t make sense and it will keep going on and on.
”The Hawaiian-born linebacker has been under close scrutiny for his role in a hoax that led the public to believe his online girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, died of cancer as he led the Irish to college football’s national championship game.
“I wasn’t as forthcoming as I should have been,” he told Couric.”(But) what I went through was real. You know the feelings, the pain, the sorrow, that was all real and that’s something that I can’t fake.”
Dannenfelser — The Dr. Phil of sports psychologists — says it is imperative for Te’o to further explain exactly what he knew about the alleged hoax and to immediately seek therapy.“He needs to talk to someone and work it out,” she says. “That will determine whether is possible for him to move forward.
“Talking with Katie, I would think you are ready to tell it all…but then again you have to think ‘how damaging is the truth?’”
Over the past week, numerous reports have speculated that Te’o, 21, was cleverly trying to squash rumors about his sexuality.
“Nobody wants to go down in history being known as the gay player,” Dannenfelser says. “They are afraid of what people are going to think. There is a fear of being ostracized.”
Dannenfelser co-wrote an upcoming episode of “Necessary Roughness” in which a pro football player comes out of the closet.
“It is arrogant to believe there are no gays or lesbians in sports,” she says.But so far no male athlete in football, basketball, baseball or hockey has admitted to being gay during his playing career, according to PR expert Howard Bragman, a consultant on the episode.
“I gotta believe there are a couple on every team,” he says.“If you’ve got 100 players, somebody is gay. But some of these guys may have gotten married. Some may be in denial. Some may not be living as gay.”
This story originally appeared in The New York Post
Editor-In-Chief at TheTVPage.com
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
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