Thursday, January 17, 2013

Manti Te'o: Victim or Perpetrator In "Dead" Girlfriend Hoax?

If you're trying to make sense of the news that Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o now says he was the victim of a hoax and that the woman he thought was his "girlfriend" never existed and never died….good luck!

Notre Dame athletic director, Jack Swarbrick, put his neck on the line for football star Te’o in last night’s press conference and I hope he has prepared himself for the real truth that is bound to come out of this. Maybe he knows something we don’t know. But based on my research, Te’o is not a victim….he’s a liar. Wait…I take that back. He was misleading…that sounds better.

Notre Dame says a story about Manti Te'o's girlfriend dying, which he said inspired him to play better as he helped his team get to the BCS National Championship, turned out to be a hoax apparently perpetrated against the star linebacker. The school went as far as to hire an investigator (who paid for that?)!

There are so many inconsistencies and questions that Te’o must answer and my gut feeling tells me that when it comes down to that….Notre Dame will not like what they hear.

Te'o issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, sticking to his story of being “Catfished”:

"This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her.

Question: So he clearly forgot the story told to reporters about how they met: yes he actually verbally said that he met the girl face to face and she was “the love of his life.” Te’o claimed he stayed on the phone with Kekua for 8 hours while she lay sleeping in her death bed. If she doesn’t exist who was he talking to?

In an article for a South Bend, Indiana newspaper, a reporter described Te’o and Kekua’s fairy tale romance. How they met after a football game in Palo Alto, California, in 2009, and how they stared into each other’s eyes as love took hold of their heart strings.

Even Te’o's father seemed to confirm her existence: “They started out as just friends. Every once in a while, she would travel to Hawaii, and that happened to be the time Manti was home, so he would meet with her there. But within the last year, they became a couple.”

Question: So was the family in on this too? This statement by his father support one of two things. 1). That they too are na├»ve or 2). The gay rumors are true, they know about it and don’t want their son’s reputation to take a hit so they went along with this “girlfriend” lie.
The story got a reality check when Deadspin’s writers found the woman in the photo that Te’o claimed was his girlfriend. She was alive, but she has never met Te’o. However, she does know a good friend of his. The woman, whom Deadspin referred to as “Reba” to protect her identity, said she was contacted in September by a high school friend (Ronaiah Tuiasosopo) who asked her to take a photo holding up a sign. It was for a friend who was in a serious car accident, he said. That photo later turned up in the profile of a Twitter account for a Lennay Kekua.

Friends and relatives of Tuiasosopo, a high school classmate of the 22-year-old woman, told Deadspin they believe Tuiasosopo created Kekua.

Question: No one noticed “Reba” in the pictures when they were being displayed all over the news prior to this week?

On Wednesday, after the story took over headlines all over the world, Lennay Kekay spoke out — in the form of a Twitter account that was previously connected to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. A tweet sent from the @LennayKay Twitter account said: “.. a lot of truths and myths need to be addressed here, and they will be at noon PST tomorrow.”

A Notre Dame source told ESPN he believes Te'o was not involved. But a friend of Tuiasosopo told Deadspin he was "80 percent sure" that Te'o participated and did so with publicity in mind.

I don’t know what to think. But in the age of Facetime and Skype, it’s hard to believe that a person NEVER actual sees who or what a person looks like over a 3 year period. But then again….I’ve seen worse on Catfish. SMH

Who do you believe?

Read the full report at Deadspin

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