While we are bathing in the sweet, sweet milk of ND schadenfreude, perhaps we should reflect on exactly what we would do in the same situation. Are we better than these pathetic ND fans who believe everything Te'o is spewing? Would we have condemned Bo if he did the same thing as JoePa?
In a great all Te'o mailbag, Bill Simmons laid out following levels Indefensively Defending Sports Figure;
Level 1: Reserved for harmless stuff — like Boston fans defending Kevin Garnett every time he acts like a bully or an a-hole (just because he's on our team and we love him and that's what you do when it's your guy), or Cowboys fans blindly defending Tony Romo's litany of choke jobs just because they love Tony Romo, or Miami fans refusing to admit that Dwyane Wade is an occasionally dirty player, or Utah fans arguing that Karl Malone really DID have some clutch moments. All benevolent fan-defending goes here.
Level 2: A blown-out version of the first level — the stakes are a little higher only because there's a little more of that hits-too-close-to-home sensitivity. Like how Ravens fans fly off the handle every time someone jokes about Ray Lewis's incident from 2000. Yes, you could throw Kobe and the Lakers fans in here. As well as Red Sox fans post-2004 right after any steroids joke about Manny or Papi.
Level 3: Any longtime O.J. Simpson fan now making the "If we're going to make excuses for Junior Seau, why can't we make the same excuses for everything that happened to O.J. after he retired? What if he has CTE, too?" defense. This gets its own level. By the way, I'm all-in on the CTE O.J. defense. He should start pushing it right now.
Level 4: Any Notre Dame fan pushing the whole "Look, Manti is the one who's a victim here!" scenario. If you play the catfishing/naive angle hard enough, the "victim" door is juuuuuuuuuuuuuust open enough that they don't sound completely insane. Just marginally insane.
Level 5: Anyone defending baseball cheaters (Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, etc.) with the always hilarious "We don't know for sure" defense or the equally hilarious "Come on, everyone was cheating, any competitive person would have done what they did" defense. All PED defenses go here. So does everyone defending Lance Armstrong's last two decades of lying/cheating/bullying/threatening/intimidating because "he did some real good, too."
Level 6: Anyone who wanted the Paterno statue to stay up; anyone who thinks that Paterno and/or Penn State's administration didn't have an inkling that something was at the very least a little off with Jerry Sandusky; anyone who rushed out a mostly flattering post-scandal biography about Paterno without waiting for the entire investigation to play out; and anyone who said the words, "Well, this may have complicated Joe's legacy, but it didn't change all the great things he did." Welcome to the highest level of Indefensibly Defending Sports Figures.
Looking at the list, even in the depths of Fab Five scandal, Michigan fans were never more than guilty of level 2 violation. Or have we committed worse offense in the past?