Have you been following this whole Manti Te’o/Dead-Girlfriend-He-Never-Met story? This thing is a hoot! With each passing day it keeps getting deeper and more bizarre. Yesterday, the Heisman Trophy runner-up sat down with ESPN after having avoided the media since the news broke on Deadspin.com that his dead girlfriend was all a hoax. In the 2 1/2 hour interview it was reported that Te’o denied any involvement in the hoax. Also, Te’o said he was finally convinced the fake girlfriend, “Lennay Kekua,” never existed until Wednesday, when Ronaiah Tuiasosopo called and admitted he was behind the hoax. Tuiasosopo had passed himself to Te’o as the cousin of Kekua.
Now, if none of that is particularly bizarre or strange, keep reading. The crazy shit starts now.
In the interview, Te’o also said:
• He lied to his father about having met Kekua, prompting his father to tell reporters that Te’o and Kekua had met. Several media stories indicated that Te’o and Kekua had met. Te’o insisted they never did.
• He tried to speak with Kekua via Skype and FaceTime on several occasions, but the person at the other end of the line was in what he called a “black box” and wasn’t seen.
• He planned to meet Kekua in person several times, including in Los Angeles and Hawaii, but on each occasion she called off the meeting or sent others in her place.
• The first time he met Tuiasosopo was in Los Angeles. Notre Dame beat USC there on Nov. 24.
• A group of people connected to Tuiasosopo showed up at the team hotel, after curfew, for the Discover BCS National Championship Game in Miami. Te’o said he knew they were at the hotel because the group took photos in the hotel lobby. Someone in the group called Te’o, saying they were waiting for Kekua to join them in the lobby and asking if she was with him. Te’o then hung up. Te’o said it affected his play in the game, where Notre Dame lost to Alabama 42-14.
• Te’o was never asked for money during the plot, but Kekua once requested his checking account number in order to send him money. Te’o did not provide his account number.
You would like to think, at some point in the three years of this “on again, off again internet romance” Te’o might have smelled a rat. Maybe every time they had planned to meet face-to-face but it she cancelled out on him at the last minute. Maybe after she asked for his bank account number. In a day when getting money from one person to another is as easy as using Western Union or simply mailing a check why would she need the bank account number? Maybe on December 6 after he got a call from the girlfriend who had supposedly died in September.
But he says he didn’t believe he was duped until Wednesday, January 16 when guy calls up to come clean and apologize.
So my question is: Which is he? The biggest liar known to man or the stupidest college football player in the nation?