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Celebrity Sports Heroes –Telling Big Fibs To The World

Celebrity Sports Heroes Lying

Wow, last week was a tough one to be a celebrity sports figure with a compelling backstory. Lance Armstrong, widely known for his Tour de France wins and Livestrong Foundation, just admitted to cheating and making accusations against innocent people. Manti Te’o is just sorting out his own kerfuffle about his girlfriend. He was an inspiration to his Notre Dame football teammates as he played through the grief from the deaths of his grandmother (true) and his girlfriend (untrue). Yikes.

The Veteran and the Rookie

Lance’s situation has been brewing for years.  Many people already had suspicions or had given personal testimony about his cheating. I heard a clip from his interview with Oprah about how he planned to “control every outcome”. Basically he didn’t think it was wrong at the time because everyone else was cheating, too. Plus, he was going to be in control of his story to keep it just the way he wanted it.

Manti seems like quite a rookie compared to Lance. His story only developed over the last year or two and just started to unravel a few days ago. It’s so bizarre because Manti was held up as an inspiration to his teammates, other Notre Dame students, and who knows how many fans nationwide. He was also in the National Championship game as well as being the Heisman runner-up. Wow.

Unfortunately, his story has so many holes that he’s barely able to do an interview before ten more holes open up. Apparently he “tweaked” his story along the way because he was caught up in the hoax and didn’t know how to shut it down. This story is still so hot with a lot of fresh information coming out. Lying to keep up with the previous lies has gotten him in deep water.

What Happens to Lance and Manti Now?

I’ve heard that Lance could still make money in a variety of ways. I’ve also heard that plenty of NFL teams would be willing to put up with the Manti’s embarrassing situation as long has he does well on his performance tests before the draft. I know people need to have a chance to live their life after they fess up to big lies, but it still makes me sigh deeply with disappointment.

Does it mean we can never hold up public figures as heroes or role models anymore? No, that isn’t completely realistic. Our kids inevitably make their own opinions about famous people. Sometimes celebrities aren’t that important, other times they are. And let’s face it, we adults do it, too. Compelling backstories from a popular athlete or celebrity are hard to ignore. That’s what makes them seem more human, more like us. When we find out their integrity has been shaken, we need to take another look at who we can look to as a better example.

Life After the Lies

I’ve explained these lies to my kids and showed them how each situation went from bad to worse. These stories easily illustrate how lying to cover up lies only adds more problems instead of solving them. Maybe someday I’ll be able to tell my kids how these men handled the aftermath, how they’ve lived with the lie after the truth came out. There’s a lesson in that, too.

Creative Commons License photo credit: discoodoni

Celebrity Sports Heroes –Telling Big Fibs To The World

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2013). Celebrity Sports Heroes –Telling Big Fibs To The World. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Jan 2013
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