CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The punch lines were rolling on Thursday.
And my favorite, tweeted by Seth Meyers:
Somehow, though, it feels uncomfortable to laugh.
Because whatever the truth might be, a 21-year-old kid is taking the punches.
Don't misunderstand. As a sports writer and journalist who has been around the proverbial block, I'm more cynical of Te'o's role in the purported hoax than most.
When you see someone glowingly portrayed as the Notre Dame linebacker, always, always take it with a grain of salt. None of us are saints. If you want to worship saints find those named Christopher, Gabriel, Joan of Arc and Francis of Assisi.
Likewise, no saints are named Jack Swarbrick. Perhaps the Notre Dame athletic director is satisfied with his school's findings on the Te'o, well, affair. But the rest of us understand the AD is also looking out for his behind as well as the reputation of the school.
Soon enough the complete unadulterated story will surface.
Many of us have some of the same basic questions. Why would Te'o ever call a woman he'd not met or spent quality time with his girlfriend? As a star football player, why not date - for real? Why didn't one journalist, including the television networks covering the national championship, track down the girl, her parents, etc.?
And, of course, the most basic of basic questions: Did Te'o perpetuate or keep quiet on purpose to help his Heisman Trophy candidacy and football career?
If the answer to the last question is yes, Te'o will be scorned for years, if not forever. And his words alone, his statements, won't answer that question. Those who continue to follow the bizarre, twisted story will come to their own conclusion.
But the jokes, the punch lines are coming at the expense of a kid fresh out of college.