Thursday, May 23, 2013


Strassini (middle)
Wait ... instead of posting on Facebook that I am a sports columnist for The Bryan Times, I could've just easily created a persona as a former star athlete for one of the most historic college football teams in the country? 

And ... and ... people would offer to have me appear at their high-class (rubber chicken) functions for photos and autograph sessions with the die hards? Wow! I have not been maximizing my Facebook experience at all.

Unlike myself, Mr. Giovanni Strassini has sure made incredibly fine use of the popular social media site. In fact, he has been made famous for his Facebook page, which portrays him as a former All-American tight end from Ohio State — who scored a touchdown in the 1976 Rose Bowl loss to UCLA. 

He has the rings, the Wikipedia page, the IMDB profile, as well as fan groups lining up to have this former Buckeye great as a featured guest at Charlotte-area fan functions.

OSU football SID, Jerry Emig, issued a statement about Strassini on Monday saying he "cannot find any documentation that Giovanni Strassini was ever a member of Ohio State’s football teams."

That's because it's completely made up. It's a hoax. It's a tale of Big Foot, Chupacabra and Lennay Kekua proportions.

It's been proven that Strassini never scored a touchdown in the 1976 Rose Bowl, was never an All-American tight end, didn't play third base on the Buckeyes baseball team, and was never drafted by the Cleveland Browns — all items residing on his (made up) resume.

He is not a Buckeye football star. The guy is a fraud, a con-artist. It's what they do. They make up a persona, build support and take advantage of ignorant people.

Which takes me to the real reason I am writing this column.

It's bad enough some yahoo makes up tales of being a football star, but who are the so-called Ohio State fans who touted this guy as a legend, going as far as putting together events with this goof ball as an honored guest?

I mean, if you have to Google someone's name to find out who they are, chances are pretty solid that they're not famous All-Americans from Ohio State, just saying. 

Also, how can you claim to be a "club" of Ohio State football fans (Charlotte Buckeyes) — who possesses a board of trustees, pays annual membership dues, holds events and fund raising-type functions — and then selects a fictional player as your featured guest? 

Do they not have fans in Charlotte with any working knowledge of the team they all claim to worship? Shouldn't they have a database, media guide or a link to OSU's official website to fact-check the list of actual All-Americans who have sported the scarlet and gray? It isn't as if they are trying to delve into the childhood background of Barack Obama. These are easily verifiable facts.

And wouldn't the name "Giovanni Strassini" stick permanently inside the frontal lobes of your brain? I know the name sounds more like a cast member on The Sopranos than a Buckeye football legend, but come on, we remember interesting names like Butler By'not'e and Ken-yon Rambo, and they never allegedly scored a touchdown in the Rose Bowl. (Editorial note: Strassini wasn't a part of The Sopranos cast ... according to his IMDB profile.)

I must put the Charlotte Buckeyes authenticity into question when they believe a guy who claims to be an all-American tight end from the mid-1970s. Any Buckeye fan knows that Jan White is the only All-American tight end to ever play at Ohio State. Not even John Frank was named All-American. Why didn't Strassini just say he won two Heisman Trophies, as well. They probably would've believed him.

The moral of the story is, you don't need any real credentials to garner celebrity in this country any longer. All you need is to find some idiots who think Facebook is the bible and you're golden. And trust me, there are many of them out there — especially in Charlotte, North Carolina it appears.

Now, if you don't mind, I need to find the "edit profile" icon on my Facebook page.

I am now Lee Hudnell ... the sixth member of the Michigan Fab Five.