- There's the currently breaking story about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and the fake girlfriend. Te'o's "girlfriend" was allegedly an inspiration for him during his senior season, and their "relationship" received quite a bit of media attention - especially after she allegedly died of leukemia. Turns out, she never existed. But is Te'o the victim of a cruel hoax - or the co-perpetrator of hoax designed to generate publicity for himself? We don't yet know.
- Only about a month before the Te'o story, there was the Suzy Favor Hamilton story. Hamilton, an "America's sweetheart" type of athlete, an Olympian, and the most dominant American distance runner ever (among women, anyway). A 44-year-old wife and mother, a successful realtor, a motivational speaker. And, it turns out, high-priced prostitute in Las Vegas.
Those are certainly weird stories. Out of left field. Did-not-see-that-coming kind of stories.
But there's a third candidate for weirdest recent sports story: The Tiger Woods scandals.
Now, there are a billion people today who will tell you that of course they new Tiger was a fraud long before that late November 2009 evening when he crashed his SUV into a tree and his world of extramarital affairs came crashing down, too. There are fellow golfers who will claim they saw things; media members who claim they heard whispers or caught glimpses (or outright knew what was going on).
But none of those people were speaking up before November 2009. Which means that most of those people aren't being honest, and were caught just as much by surprise as the rest of us.
It might be difficult to remember now that Tiger Woods' public reputation - burnished in fawning coverage from print, TV and online media alike - was that of straight arrow, family man, focused and dedicated golfer bent on making history.
In reality, Tiger's life may or may not have involved domestic violence; may or may not have involved prescription drug abuse; may or may not have involved driving under the influence; may or may not have involved porn stars and diner waitresses (sometimes at the same time); may or may not have involved sex addiction; may or may not have involved blowjobs inside a car in a church parking lot.
But it definitely involved lots and lots of lies. Tiger Woods' entire public persona was revealed to be a lie. And that's why there was such shock and surprise when those events from late November 2009 started unfolding, revealing the seediness beneath the facade.
One thing the Tiger, Suzy and Manti scandals have in common is that traditional media didn't break any of them.
Which do you think is the weirdest story?