Te’o’s too-good-to-be-true story is, unfortunately, the sort of tragic human drama that both journalists and readers have afforded too much prominence. Stories of personal suffering like Te’o described rarely merit more than a few lines in a scouting report or a mention in the play-by-play man’s asides. Those reporters who would make a spectacle of such details need a different focus, as Deadspin editor Tommy Craggs said bluntly to the Poynter Institute.
“Those were dumb, infantilizing stories to begin with, and they were executed poorly and sloppily,” Craggs said. “And if there’s any lesson to be drawn from this, it’s that this kind of simpering (expletive) should be eliminated from the sports pages entirely.”