“Remember, it’s not a lie if YOU believe it”. —George Costanza
The Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax is the most bizarre story I have EVER heard. Let me start by saying that I want to believe in Manti, I really do. Without Notre Dame there is no Aidanfromworcester, since that is where my parents met. It’s also a place I’ve been to dozens of times and where 4 of my siblings graduated from, and 1 is a sophomore. As a die-hard Notre Dame fan this whole story sucks. However, as an aspiring blogger this is pure gold. Those of you who are not familiar with Manti’s story, this is it in a nutshell:
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame’s middle linebacker, captain and emotional leader, had a girlfriend from Stanford. After a 2-0 start against Navy and Purdue it was reported that his grandmother Annette Santiago and girlfriend Lennay Kekua, had both died. We were told that Lennay had been in a car accident, and unrelated to that had developed leukemia and was in a coma. The story went so far as to detail that the two would stay on the phone together at night until they fell asleep, and Manti claimed that her now imaginary family told him that her breathing rate increased while she was on the phone with him. We were told that Manti’s girlfriend’s dying wish was that he play in Notre Dame’s upcoming game against Michigan State, rather than attend her funeral. Manti played inspiring football from that point on, leading the Irish to a dominating 20-3 win over Michigan State, and making it all the way to the National Championship before being overcome by a team that was superior in talent, size and speed, in Alabama.
It turns out it was all a lie.
Deadspin.com has today released news that is Pulitzer-worthy and nothing less than shocking.
To sum it up, the fake girlfriend (Kekua) was really an unidentified girl from California. She was high school classmates with a friend of Manti named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who comes from a long pedigree of successful football players. Tuiasosopo used her pictures from Facebook to create the bogus Twitter account for Kekua. Then, although they hadn’t spoken since high school, Tuiasosopo asked her to send her a picture of herself holding a sign that said “MSMK” on the request of his cousin, who had supposedly just been in a car accident and could only be cheered up by a picture of her holding this unexplainable sign. The unnamed girl realized the jig was up when she googled Kukua and found her picture, holding the MSMK sign, as the Twitter Avatar of a dead girl. Then in November of 2012 (2 months after the tragic death of the imaginary girl), the imaginary girl’s imaginary sister created a Twitter account called “U’ilani” and was “tweeted at” by Manti.
Ya got all that? It took me about 2.5 hours to figure out what the hell was going on, mainly because I try to pronounce these people’s confusing and similar sounding names.
Now, I’ve been watching a show on MTV a lot lately called “Catfish”. Don’t ask. But, after watching this show I’ve come to the conclusion that guys in college are the easiest to manipulate on earth. Every episode it’s some 22 year old who’s been talking to an online girlfriend for years, but hasn’t become suspicious when their mystery girlfriend doesn’t have a cell phone or has 6 Facebook friends. Then when they find out it’s a gay fat guy all of their buddies rag on them. Manti may be famous, but he’s still a stupid college kid.
At the same time, what the hell is wrong with all of us??!! How did we not figure this out? It took a deadspin article to point this out? WTF?? I mean, even before this happened how many people out there tried to Google this imaginary girl’s obituary? The press? To me this is the big mystery in all this. In the age where every argument can be ended with a click of the mouse, none of the billions of people on earth could figure this one out.
There are only 2 possible conclusions that we can reach about this:
1) Manti was duped. He was the victim of a cruel joke.
2) Manti is making the whole things up.
Time will tell us which is the truth, but speculation is way more fun. Time to examine both of these possibilities and determine the truth!!
Option A: Manti was duped
If he fell for this scam then how much money has he invested in Nigerian businesses? Although I want to believe this is the truth as a Notre Dame fan, I find it pretty hard to do so. I’ll pretend though.
If Manti is telling the truth then all of the following must be true:
- First and foremost Manti is incredibly stupid and gullible. This is quite possibly true. He’s not famous because he’s smart. He’s famous because he runs into people really fast.
- When Manti, in an interview on October 2nd said “she was the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met” he meant “the most beautiful girl he’d ever met ONLINE”, which is pretty misleading. Kind of makes a difference.
- In January of 2012, after coming off an 8-5 season and unranked, Te’o thought he was a viable Heisman candidate. How could he possibly believe that a defensive player on an unranked team would lead his team to the National Championship game and nearly win the Heisman? It was in January that he started tweeting “#LMK”. For those of us over the age of 40 a “#” and the whatever comes after it is kind of like what you would write on the front of notes you used to pass to each other in class when the nuns weren’t looking.
- Te’o was never suspicious that his “girlfriend’s” family had never asked to meet her boyfriend. If I had a daughter and she was dating the most well-known college football player in the country you better damn well believe I’d be milking that for all it was worth. I’d probably understand that it wouldn’t work out and that I was going to get as many pictures with a future NFL star as I could.
- Te’o, who could pretty much have any girl he wanted at Notre Dame (except my sisters of course), chose to go the online route instead. So despite the fact that wherever this strong, heterosexual man went on campus he had girls who were willing to bend Notre Dame’s honor code, he still said “nah I’m gonna go for this hot stranger I’ve never been to first base with, who is also in a coma”.
- Despite professing to love her so much, Manti not only never went to her funeral, he also never looked for her obituary or any sort of remembrance of her. If he had he would have found out pretty easily that the whole thing was a prank.
- Te’o fell for an elaborate prank which lasted over a year. He claimed that he would talk to her on the phone until he fell asleep, and would wake up 8 hours later and still here her breathing. If he is telling the truth that means that the pranksters dedicated themselves for all-nighters every night. That must’ve sucked!!!
- Despite receiving a phone call from his dead girlfriend’s phone number and talking to someone who pretended to be her, he never brought this out publicly, and continued to publicly talk about her during the media circus leading up to the BCS Championship game on January 7th, 2013.
- When referring to his girlfriend dozens, if not hundreds of times publicly, he never referred to her as her online girlfriend. I mean, I’m a huge Notre Dame fan and I just found out she was an “online girlfriend” today.
Option B: Manti is a liar who will burn in hell
Brent Mushburger was right; quarterbacks do get all the beautiful women. Linebackers get the made up ones. Somewhere Lance Armstrong is yelling at his TV “dude, you’re doing it wrong!!!”
However, if Manti is making the whole thing up, then the following must be true:
- Manti made up an imaginary girlfriend. This is a total chick move. Girls used to tell me this all the time when I approached them at the bar.
- For the past year two 22-year old Polynesians successfully conspired to fool the whole country in an era when information is readily available in split seconds with a Google search.
- Manti’s father, who said that Kekua flew to Hawaii from California when Manti was home from school on breaks, was also either in on the scam or had no desire to meet Manti’s girlfriend when she visited his hometown from thousands of miles away.
- Manti got so into the lie that after intercepting 2 passes against Michigan only a week after Kukua had died, he said he “sent the picks and white roses to her”.
- Manti and Tuiasosopo decided to kill her off in September of 2012 because Manti’s parents were supposed to meet her for the first time in November, and obviously this would be hard for them since she wasn’t real.
- Manti and Tuiasosopo were savvy enough in their elaborate Heisman scheme to alter all but 1 picture of the imaginary girlfriend on her real Twitter account, so that people wouldn’t be able to run a reverse image search. The only picture that wasn’t altered was the “MSMK” avatar picture. I mean, am I supposed to believe that these idiots really did all of this so that Manti could try to win the Heisman?
- Manti’s roommate and best friend, wide receiver Robby Toma, either knew about the elaborate hoax and did nothing, took part in it himself, or never noticed that his roommate wasn’t actually falling asleep every night on top of his phone.
So what is the truth?
Well I can’t be sure, but here is my theory:
Manti Te’o is gay and did this all to cover it up. It’s the only thing that just adds up. It had nothing to do with the Heisman. It had everything to do with the fact that the public would question an NFL player who had never had a girlfriend, in a sport where no active player had ever come out of the closet. He kept the lie up with her parents by saying she was visiting him in Hawaii. Then he realized the jig was up when they were supposed to meet her in November. So, instead of saying he broke up with her, him and his bozo friend went with the more dramatic story. As it worked out, this became the inspirational rallying cry for the Irish and they never lost until January 7th. Make no doubt about it, by this time his teammates knew the jig was up. To me this helps explains their play during that game. They were outmatched, but they played uninspired, largely because their inspiration was a fraud.
This is just my theory though. What we do know for sure are these 2 facts:
1) Notre Dame has turned into a huge joke. In a week when Lance Armstrong was supposed to be America’s biggest disgrace, on the day before Armstrong’s Oprah interview is to air, Notre Dame stole his thunder.
2) My Mom was right. She’s fought against texting and online communication for years. Now most of this story won’t make any sense to her, and the Deadspin article might as well be written in Chinese, but make no doubt about it; she was right. Without Twitter this story doesn’t get released. Love you Mom!!!
@LennayKay I miss you!
Well those are my thoughts. I’m sure they will change as this story grows, so it won’t be the last time I write about this.
I definitely expect some feedback on this article. Comment or die.