San Diego newspaper cartoon on Manti draws local critics - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

San Diego newspaper cartoon on Manti draws local critics

Kaili Honbo Kaili Honbo
Brian Te'o Brian Te'o
Sabra Aluli Sabra Aluli
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

An editorial cartoon depicting football star Manti Te'o on the beach with his arm around an imaginary girlfriend appeared in Tuesday's editions of a newspaper in San Diego, where Te'o was drafted last week to play for the Chargers in the NFL.

The cartoon by Steve Breen is an obvious reference to a hoax in which a man admitted to making up Te'o's online girlfriend. It depicts Te'o walking on the beach wearing a Chargers' t-shirt, shorts and slippers as the sun sets in the distance. His right arm is extended, as he says, "Honey, I think we're going to love living in San Diego."

"That's not a nice welcome at all," said Kaili Honbo in Waikiki after being shown the cartoon. "It is mocking. And it's a bad representation of somebody from Hawaii."

There were some who said that Te'o will have to expect that kind of treatment. One of those people was his father, Brian Te'o, who appeared on the PBS Hawaii program "Leahey & Leahey," which was taped Wednesday morning.

"He's been elevated to a level, to a status that we didn't think he would be," said Brian Te'o. "But now that he is, he's gotta be able to take the positive and the negative now."

For Manti's community on Oahu's North Shore, the positive is that he was chosen to play professional football, even if he wasn't picked in the first round of the NFL draft. Perhaps it was time to put the hoax behind him. But now, the cartoon in his new team's town has brought it back.

"It is a lot of baggage," said Sabra Aluli in Waikiki. "Hopefully he can, with some supporters, you know? But it is mocking him."

"Our family, especially in the last two months, we really struggled with trying to understand, only to come out of it realizing that it really make to sense trying to understand," said Brian Te'o. "It's just something we just have to come to terms with."

Manti still has his supporters here in the islands. "I think that anybody can overcome anything," said Honbo. "But I just think that people shouldn't print things like that. It's just very disappointing that people have to print things like that."

Brian Te'o also had his advice for his son and others who may find themselves in his situation.

"Be aware of what may happen and the scrutiny that may come. And try to grow some thick skin over it."


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