this whole story confuses me....i've read some articles on it but still not sure what is going on
+1 and it was on the news. I still don't get it.
Okay summary. Bold is essential. The other stuff is the details.
Manti Te'o is a star football player for Notre Dame. This past year, in September, his grandmother and girlfriend died on the same day. Te'o had a game the same night they died and led his team to an emotional victory.
The story became the sports story of the year as Te'o led Notre Dame to the national championship game and perfect undefeated record. Te'o did dozens and dozens of interviews talking about his girlfriend being the love of his life and dying of cancer. He did charity cancer work. He wrote letters to kids battling cancer.
He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and was covered by everyone from CNN to CBS. He ended up winning pretty much every award he was nominated for, except the Heisman (although he received over 300 1st place votes).
Notre Dame came forward with a press conference yesterday standing in support of Te'o. They claim he was the victim of a hoax.
The story would be open and shut if it ended there, but there are many inconsistencies that lead some people to believe Te'o either knew about it the entire time, or lied about the details.
#1.There was an article with quotes from Te'o's father saying that Manti met her in 2009 after a Stanford football game. The article talked about them laying EYES on each other and exchanging numbers in person. The article also said that the girl would meet Manti in Hawaii every now and then. In the press conference above, they are now claiming the entire relationship was online.
#2. According to the press conference above. Te'o got a phone call from his "deceased girlfriend" December 6th, during an awards ceremony. Two days later, during the Heisman pre-ceramony, he still claimed to the media that his girlfriend had died of cancer, even though he had already been contacted by the hoaxters.
#3. Te'o did many interviews where he said he would talk to the girl on the phone all night, letting the phone rest by his ear to hear her breathing.
#4. So did they meet in 2009 or 2011/12? How did he never meet her? Where did he send flowers to? Never visited the grave? Maybe above all else, how does one get misty eyed in front of reporters about the love of his life, when he has never met her before?
#5. Te'o is friends with the man that is reportedly behind the fake girlfriend. This is pretty much what led to the 'is he gay?' rumors.
Then even more bizarre, a NFL player claimed last night that he had met the girlfriend before, so she was real. And Stanford football players have claimed that after games, Manti would always ask them if they knew his girlfriend--she was supposedly a Stanford student, though Deadspin investigated and found out no such person existed in the student records.
Here is what the deadspin article discovered. They believe the person who did the hoax was a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
Te'o's story moved beyond the world of sports. On the day of the BCS championship game between Notre Dame and Alabama, CBS This Morning ran a three-minute story that featured a direct quote from Lennay Kekua:
if anything happens to me, you promise that you'll stay there and
you'll play and you'll honor me through the way you play.
CBS also displayed this photo of Kekua several times throughout the piece:
week, we got in touch with a woman living in Torrance, Calif. We'll
call her Reba, to protect her identity. She was initially confused, then
horrified to find that she had become the face of a dead woman. "That
picture," she told us over the phone, "is a picture of me from my
All of those photographs—with one important exception—came from the
private Facebook and Instagram accounts of Reba, whom we found after an
exhaustive related-images search of each of Lennay's images (most of
which had been modified in some way to prevent reverse image searching).
We sent her a number of photographs that had appeared on Lennay's
Twitter account, which is now private but apparently still active (see this retweet,
for instance). One picture in particular brought Reba to a start. It
had been used briefly as @LoveMSMK's Twitter avatar and later in the
background of the page (we've blurred out the face, at Reba's request):
photo hadn't appeared on the internet—at least, not to Reba's
knowledge. She had taken it in December 2012 and sent it directly to an
old high school acquaintance. The two hadn't talked since graduation,
but the classmate, whom Reba remembered fondly, contacted her on
Facebook with a somewhat convoluted request: His cousin had been in a
serious car accident, and he had seen her photos before and thought she
was pretty. Would she be so kind as to take a picture of herself holding
up a sign reading "MSMK," to put in a slideshow to support the cousin's
recovery? (He didn't explain what MSMK meant, and Reba still doesn't
know.) Baffled but trusting, Reba made the sign and sent along the
And now here it was on a dead girl's Twitter profile.
After googling Lennay Kekua's name, Reba began to piece things together.
She called up the classmate. He expressed alarm, Reba told us later,
and "immediately began acting weird." "Don't worry about it," he told
her. Moments after the phone call, Reba's picture was removed from the
@LoveMSMK Twitter profile. Then, in a series of lengthy phone calls,
Reba told us everything she knew about the classmate, a star high school
quarterback turned religious musician named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
A friend of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo told us he was "80 percent sure" that
Manti Te'o was "in on it," and that the two perpetrated Lennay Kekua's
death with publicity in mind. According to the friend, there were
numerous photos of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and Te'o together on Tuiasosopo's
now-deleted Instagram account.
The sheer quantity of falsehoods
about Manti's relationship with Lennay makes that friend, and another
relative of Ronaiah's, believe Te'o had to know the truth. Mostly,
though, the friend simply couldn't believe that Te'o would be stupid
enough—or Ronaiah Tuiasosopo clever enough—to sustain the relationship
for nearly a year.
We all saw this coming. Well, not ALL of this
— but enough to make too many of us shudder. Notre Dame is not like
most schools with big-time athletic programs — our student body
population pales in comparison to other large schools. And what does
that mean? Well, word spreads fast on Notre Dame’s campus, and many
students knew a long time ago that there was something very fishy (or
should I say, cat-fishy) about Manti Te’o's relationship with ‘Lennay
The students supported Manti Te'o after his apparent losses.
the story broke in mid-September that Manti lost his grandmother and
girlfriend in a 24-hour period, the student body was shocked. Manti Te’o
is truly a class act — it’s something that we have all seen first-hand
over and over. I have seen him work hard in the classroom. I have seen
him be ever-so-gracious with children that see him on campus. I have
seen him be a great friend and person in general — not a soul that meets
him comes away without being impressed. His manners would make any
mother blush and he goes to mass with Tim Tebow-like regularity — he
truly seems like the kind of guy that you’d want your daughter to marry
someday. So when we heard the tragic news, the student body supported
him in a manner that made national news.
Yet, even before the Michigan State game, Manti Te’o was being questioned by his teammates.
Apparently Manti had only “seen” Lennay once — but I assume “seen” was a
rather loose term used for “chatted with online” (however, this is
extremely complicated to understand since they were reportedly talking
since 2009, according to the Te’o family). The debate among teammates
wasn’t whether or not Manti actually knew this girl — it was clear that
they had been in contact; no, players just didn’t think that it was fair
to call Lennay Kekua Manti’s girlfriend, period (it is well-known on
campus that he has had relations with other girls during his time at
Notre Dame). They recognized what was going on for what it was — a
terrible publicity stunt used to fuel Manti Te’o's Heisman campaign. In
fact, many of the players privately commented that they didn’t want the
students to wear leis in support of Manti and wouldn’t participate
themselves — they cited that the team never responded so publicly to tragic events for other players. But there was also the feeling that Manti didn’t deserve to benefit from publicity from the death of somebody he barely knew.
must have known how beneficial this publicity would be in a season that
marked Notre Dame’s return to the national elite, and one that also put
him squarely in the Heisman race.As a defensive player, you can’t win
the prestigious award without exceptional circumstances — and here one
had conveniently fallen into his lap. So he went with it, fed off of it,
and it riveted the nation. Love for Manti Te’o exceeded that of any
player I have ever seen, and even non-Irish fans hailed him as an
inspiration. And here’s where it all gets even trickier.
knew that it was over-the-top — his teammates had gotten that sense a
long time prior. And now he was in too deep. More and more questions
were asked about this fascinating story, and he kept answering them,
calling Kekua “the love of his life”, even though he was digging a
deeper and deeper hole for himself. And it didn’t help that his family,
and specifically his father, Brian Te’o, was also talking about the
incident, or lying as it appears.
Was Manti duped? Photo via @MTeo_5
yet, despite all of this, I genuinely believe Manti was duped, I truly
do. I think Manti was fooled, got caught in a media frenzy and
exaggerated their “relationship”. I don’t, however, think he orchestrated
the deception. He made the mistake of running with the story rather
than admitting the truth about the situation. He should have gotten away
from this story at the very start — when she “passed”, he should have
expressed his condolences to the family that he believed she had and
moved on, rather than draw more attention to it.
One thing that Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick made clear
in his press conference is that he 100% believes Manti Te’o had
feelings for this girl, and Manti is the perfect target for a trap like
this because he truly cares about others. I have, like many others, met
Manti Te’o, and numerous times. I believe he is a genuinely good guy. He
came back to Notre Dame for his senior year to make a difference in the
community and to be a positive role model to others. And it’s easy to
see how he would be compelled to help this girl and make her a
substantial part of his life.
More and more evidence
is coming out that seems to indicate that there was a clear intent by
some sick people to trick Manti Te’o. Whether they were in it just for
the cruel pleasure of fooling a famous figure or if they would have
eventually attempted to blackmail Te’o for money once he made the NFL is
unclear. But what Notre Dame firmly believes is that Manti Te’o was
close enough with this girl to be hurt at her death, which he believed
to be legitimate. And Te’o really knew something was wrong when she
later “came back from the dead” to message him. Something was very, very
wrong — he had been played.
Now here’s the thing. While I believe
Manti Te’o to have an incredibly good heart and to have gotten duped, I
will also be quick to point out that he oversold all of this drama in
the first place. It was heinous of him to play up a relationship as the
love of his life for a girl he had never actually met — I think most
people can agree that is ridiculous. And I think Notre Dame had to have
some knowledge of the the whole case being significantly embellished but
was on board because of the positive press and hype it brought to the
university. Could it have been a massive oversight and university
officials just took Manti at his word that it was his girlfriend?
Absolutely, but I like to think my school’s athletic department is a
little smarter than that — it has shown itself to be quite media savvy
in the past. I think that Te’o, his family, and Notre Dame all knew what
was going on in terms of hyperbole (but not the entire non-existence)
and decided to go with it, never expecting the truth to come out.
It remains to be seen what legacy Te'o will leave behind.
Ultimately, the best thing about this is that nobody got hurt. This
is extremely embarrassing for everyone involved, especially Manti Te’o
if he was truly duped like I believe. While he should be ashamed about
accepting the press that he did, this was not a scandal where
victims were physically abused, caught cheating, or found dead. It was a
massive series of lies that kept growing and growing. Plenty of people
had an idea that something was going on — as soon as players found out,
it slowly leaked to their friends, and their friends’ friends. But it
all went left unsaid because nobody but Manti and the Lennay Kekua
imposters truly knew the full reality of their relationship.
today we expect to hear Manti’s side of the story — whether it will
reveal the whole truth remains to be seen. But I expect to see a
heartbroken and crestfallen Te’o for two reasons: I believe he was duped
into thinking Lennay Kekua existed and is now publicly humiliated for
that, and furthermore, I think he realizes his chance to be an icon who
makes a positive difference is really hanging in the balance.
Manti, I hope that it comes out that all he did was lie to get more
press than he needed. That is bad, but not unforgiveable, and if there’s
one person who’s history of good acts says he deserves a second chance,
it’s Manti Te’o.
College football star Manti Te'o says he was the victim of a cruel hoax, an elaborate scheme in which he fell for an imaginary girlfriend named Lennay Kekua and mourned her when she died of leukemia.
But he still has a lot of explaining to do.
The narrative crafted before and after the expose is full of conflicting information and holes bigger than those in Notre Dame's defensive line during its loss to Alabama.
If Te'o wants the public to believe that he was nothing more than a dupe, here are some of the questions and inconsistencies he'll need to clear up.
1. Notre Dame says that Te'o never met Kekua, that their relationship was strictly online and by phone. But the player's father gave the South Bend Tribune a detailed account of how the couple first met at a Stanford game in Palo Alto in 2009 and rendez-voused in Hawaii after becoming a couple in early 2012. And Te'o himself told ESPN that she was the "most beautiful girl I ever met."
2. Te'o called Kekua "the love of my life." His parents said they believed they would get married. Yet if Notre Dame's account is to be believed, they never met even once, or even Skyped. It be rs belief.
3. Before her leukemia "diagnosis," Kekua supposedly was nearly killed in a car accident. But published profiles of Te'o have conflicting dates -- late 2011, last January, or as recently as April. Why the discrepancies?
4. When did Kekua's fictitious death happen? Various interviews with Te'o have her succumbing to leukemia hours before his grandmother died on Sept. 12, soon after, or even days after. Assuming Te'o truly believed Kekua had passed away, wouldn't he remember the date? Or did all the reporters get the details wrong?
5. After he supposedly received the shock of his life -- a call from someone using Kekua's voice and phone number while he was at the ESPN Awards on Dec. 6 -- Teo stayed quiet for three weeks. It wasn't until Dec. 26 that he told Notre Dame officials, who then hired private investigators to look into it.
6. If Te'o was in on the deception, though, why wouldn't he just let Kekua rest in peace? Was he or someone else worried the hoax was about to come to light, prompting a fourth-quarter end-run to get ahead of the revelations?
7. Hours after Deadspin's bombshell report and Notre Dame's press conference, when it seemed that everyone could agree on one thing -- there is no Lennay Kekua -- an NFL player claimed to have actually seen her in the flesh. Arizona Cardinals fullback Regan Mauia said he met her in American Samoa in 2011, before she started romancing Te'o, and is "close" to her family.
8. Carrying out the hoax would have been a full-time job involving more than one person. Te'o claims he would spend all night on the phone with Kekua while she was in the hospital. There were purported communications from family members. Who would have had the time to orchestrate it? By the same token, how would Te'o have been able to create and maintain a social-media profile for Kekua on his own?
9. Where's the motive? A central figure in the hoax is reported to be musician Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Deadspin reported that he had contact with the woman, a former high-school classmate, whose photos were used to create Kekua's profile -- even obtaining one of the pictures from her directly. But the site also describes Tuiasosopo as a friend of Te'o, raising the question of why he would humiliate his buddy.
Manti Te'o Hoax All SCAMS Lead to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo
The Manti Te'o not-really-dead-girlfriend hoax was perpetuated by a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo -- who served as a representative for the family of the fake "Lennay Kekua" ... and TMZ has the photo proof.
Here's what we know ...
While Manti was "dating" Lennay ... a Notre Dame die-hard fan who we'll call "Jan" (to protect her identity) reached out to Lennay on Twitter and began an online friendship.
Lennay's supposed death, Jan became involved with a group called "Wear a
Lei 4 Manti" -- in which fans wore Hawaiian leis to ND football games
to show their support for the football star.
When the "Wear a
Lei 4 Manti" movement began to receive media attention, Jan says she
noticed she gained a Twitter follower named U'ilani Rae Kekua.
Jan tells TMZ ... she reached out to U'ilani and asked if she was related to Lennay -- to which U'ilani replied, "Yes, that's my baby sister." The two became friends.
fact, Jan says they both mentioned how they were going to attend the
Notre Dame vs. USC game in L.A. on November 24, 2012 ... so Jan sent
U'ilani her cell phone number in case she wanted to meet up.
where the story takes a turn ... Jan tells TMZ she got a phone call
from U'ilani on the day of the game directing her to the famous Tommy
Trojan statue in front of the stadium, so they could meet up.
But when Jan arrived to the statue, U'ilani was NOT there ... but guess who was -- Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Jan and Ronaiah even took a photo together (see above).
to the Deadspin article, Ronaiah was the person who obtained the photo
of the woman everyone believed to be Lennay ... and is suspected of
having a major role in the hoax.
Jan tells us Ronaiah was with a little girl during the USC meeting who they called Pookah --
and together, they explained how Lennay's sister couldn't come down to
visit, so U'ilani sent them instead. Jan says Ronaiah "made it seem as
if he was a member of Lennay's family."
After Jan and Ronaiah
took the picture together -- Jan says Ronaiah began to act paranoid ...
and told her, "Make sure you don't post this photo online."
after the game, Jan says she was contacted by U'ilani ... who also urged
her NOT to post the picture of Ronaiah. She didn't explain why.
later sent a photo to Jan showing a woman at a cemetery -- and told
her, "This is me and my family at Lennay's gravesite. We're spending the
the woman in the photo is not U'ilani ('cause she doesn't really exist)
... and some digging suggests the woman in the photo is actually a
woman named Donna Tei, who doesn't seem to have a relationship with
anyone involved in the hoax.
There's more ... Jan tells TMZ
Lennay's "sister" continued to reach out to her after the USC game ...
and delivered some more bad news -- that little Pookah had been
diagnosed with lupus and was dying in a children's hospital in Orange
Jan said she wanted to send flowers -- so Lennay's
"sister" gave her an address. TMZ has learned the address belongs to a
member of the Tuiasosopo family.
Jan also gave us the phone
number Lennay's sister would use to contact her -- and we found out the
number is registered to a man named Titus Tuiasosopo -- Ronaiah's
We tried to reach out to Ronaiah -- but we couldn't get a
hold of him. So far, he has yet to comment to the media about the
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