The football star playing at a college legend needs an image in a championship season where every move is under a microscope. To make it, you need to be good, but also to be loved.
Such is the story for Notre Dame star linebacker, Manti Te'o. We learned during the football season that he was dealing with the death of his grandmother and the death of his girlfriend from cancer.
And in his girlfriend's honor, Manti Te'o missed her funeral to play in a football game. It was one of her last requests.
His fans came to support with thousands wearing Hawaiian leis to his game in honor of his Hawaiian heritage.
Here's Manti Te'o speaking about the overwhelming support from his fans as he went through this period of grief and preservation:
"I'm receiving this peace, strength from people I don't even know. They don't know me. But they care about Manti instead of number 5."
But according to reporters at Deadspin, that girlfriend never had cancer, never died, and in fact, never existed.
Dave Zirin is a sports writer and author of "A People’s History of Sports in the United States."