The star of a sitcom based on football fantasy leagues turned out to be living his own sick fantasy by lying about surviving the World Trade Center on 9/11.
Steve Rannazzisi could be a familiar face to sports fans. Besides starring in the FX series “The League,” he was the face of the Buffalo Wild Wings franchise during the March Madness NCAA tournament in the spring and due for more football game commercials during the NFL season.
He also turns out to be a liar on a grand scale. The New York Times on Wednesday blew the cover off the story Rannazzisis has spun for years – that he had been in South Tower of the World Trade Center when hijacked commercial airlines hit.
In elaborate detail, Mr. Rannazzisi, 37, has described working at Merrill Lynch’s offices on the 54th floor of the south tower when the first plane struck the north tower.
“I was there and then the first tower got hit and we were like jostled all over the place,” he told an interviewer in 2009.
He fled to the street just minutes before another plane slammed into his building, he said, and decided that very day that life was too precious to waste opportunities. So he abandoned his New York desk job to pursue a career as an entertainer in Los Angeles.
Nonetheless, he said, he remained affected by his memories of that day.
“I still have dreams of like, you know, those falling dreams,” he told the interviewer.
Now, he should have dreams of like, you know, getting busted.
The Times continues:
Confronted this week, though, with evidence that undermined his account, Mr. Rannazzisi, after a day of deliberation, acknowledged on Tuesday that his account was fiction. Actually, he had been working in Midtown that day, and not for Merrill Lynch, which has no record of his employment and had no offices in either tower.
“I was not at the Trade Center on that day,” he said in a statement provided by his publicist, Matthew Labov. “I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry.”
In a lengthy series of Twitter posts Wednesday, Rannazzisi called his years-long, repeated deception the “inexcusable” decision of a younger man, and wondered how he could teach his children honesty “when I hadn’t come clean about this.”
Social media users weren’t buying any of it. One came up with the truly solid word to describe someone who uses a national tragedy for self-aggrandizement — and lies about it to boot: “JERK.”
@SteveRannazzisi you didn’t come clean, you got caught.
— Jimmy (@JimmyPrinceton) September 16, 2015
@CNN been listening to brian williams too much my dad actually was there and it scared the crap out of him so screw you liar
— Scott Williams (@sggmuw) September 16, 2015
@CNN well that’s just sad to use such an American tragedy to get noticed ..JERK
— GIGI DOUGHERTY (@GIGISFLYING) September 16, 2015
@nytimes only took him 14 years to admit. what a great man
— Ca$$ie (@gothydad) September 16, 2015
@nytimes Just another lying left-wing liberal, what new???
— Roy Patterson (@roy_wr) September 16, 2015
@nytimes he only admitted it because evidence proved he was lying. That doesn’t sound like he honestly regretted his decision to lie.
— Sirius Black (@SiriusBlack891) September 16, 2015
No. But it doesn’t sound a lot like the current front-runner for the Democrat presidential nomination.
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