I am so intrigued with this Manti Te’o scandal. Yes, it’s a scandal. Scandalous in the delicious way only soap operas are. So many layers of lies, misdirection and puppeteering. Dance puppets! I love it.
OK, so where to begin? First, I’m not an avid football fan. I’ll watch games if beer is involved. I know football enough to pick a team and enjoy it. My favorite part of the game is safeties. And watching an underdog win. Unless the underdog is a cocky team like KSU was this year. Sorry KSU friends, I just couldn’t bring myself to cheer. But that’s neither here nor there. KSU’s hero-worshipped player was all married and boring. This, my friends, is much, much better!
Alright, so here’s how it goes down.
2009 – Te’o meets Lennay Kekua in person at a Notre Dame-Stanford game. Based on the now-removed South Bend Tribune article, “then Manti Te’o extended his hand to the stranger with a warm smile and soulful eyes.”
First, can we discuss how frustrating these disappearing articles are? If media outlets were duped in this, so what? Don’t erase the proof. Making these things disappear only makes it seem like you’re paid to cover up for Te’o. In fact, I know of one other South Bend Tribune article that disappeared – I believe that article also referenced Te’o meeting Kekua. What I want to know, South Bend Tribune, is whether you were liberal with details, or if Te’o said these things to you. If he said them, leave them out there. If you were liberal with details for a good story, admit it, apologize, and clear Te’o. The case of the disappearing evidence is such a Catholic thing. It irks me, and makes me want to punch members of the media. No one can own up to mistakes. And everyone’s afraid of the truth. If Te’o was catfished, it never would have gotten so out of hand had he been honest.
Second, many other articles reference this article, so making it disappear only creates an orphaned link. It doesn’t stop other articles’ references to the details. Listen, this isn’t Germany, you can’t simply take Hitler out of the history books and pretend he didn’t exist. Let’s lay this story out as it happened.
Moving on down the timeline, allegedly Te’o and Kekua were friends from 2000-2012. In that time, according to Manti Te’o’s dad, Brian, Manti met up with Kekua in Hawaii.
This quote is from the same removed South Bend Tribune article mentioned above:
“’They started out as just friends,’ Brian Te’o said. “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…”
So that’s two times the Tribune has said Te’o met Kekua. Too bad the article’s gone. But I suppose it’s too bad many non-Tribune articles referenced these quotes. During Notre Dame’s private investigation between December 6th and yesterday, why weren’t these articles removed? If someone’s making the stories disappear now, why not be more efficient about it? Actually, if we want to get specific, one of the Tribune articles was pulled yesterday evening. And the article I’m referencing was pulled sometime after 9PM Central time. These are all just random details. I can see the author of the article deciding he’s embarrassed, or being called on creative liberties. But in that case, admit it, don’t pull the article. The articles disappearing with no explanation only creates more scandal. I did try to search for a reason they were pulled in case the Tribune did release a statement, but as of 10AM Central, I couldn’t find anything.
In 2012 they became a couple. In fact, it was shortly after they became a couple that she allegedly got in her car accident. While she was in the hospital post-accident, the doctors allegedly discovered cancer. This girl has the worst luck. She goes on to get a bone marrow transplant, which Te’o’s dad discusses and says he thought she was better. Then she suddenly dies. During the time she’s sick, Te’o allegedly would sleep “with her.” Meaning they’d talk on the phone and fall asleep together, not disconnecting their calls. First, did he have an unlimited talk plan? Second, can anyone prove these calls actually happened? Third, if they did, it’s likely the person on the other end of the call had a real plan, not one of those pay as you go plans, since those are much more expensive. Is some girl really committed enough to this scam to keep him on the phone all night, from what it sounds like, almost every night? That seems very suspicious. And it’s suspicious these calls can’t be traced back. And it’s suspicious that in the time talking to him all hours of the day that this girl didn’t have an ounce of guilt. It’s nearly impossible to spend that much time with someone and not get attached. It doesn’t pan out.
So, what I want to know is, where those calls traced back? If so, who were they traced to? If they didn’t exist, is anyone mentioning this?
Te’o goes on to thank his girlfriend’s family after the Michigan State game. He also mentions sending “her” (by her he means her dead body, I assume at the funeral home?) white roses because white was her favorite color. First, isn’t white the lack of color? OK, that’s not the point.
Here’s my first take-away from the death: Who told Te’o she died? Clearly she didn’t just stop calling and he figured it out from some media outlet. He must have had contact with her fake-family or fake-friends, right? Who told him? The last thing she said to him was, “I love you.” She didn’t die on the phone with him. So who contacted him? How did they contact him? Didn’t he want to see the obituary or eventually want to visit her grave so he’d find out where she was buried? If he never met or talked to any of her family or friends (because he never met her), how did they know how to contact him? If he did talk to her family or friends over the course of the “relationship” how did he talk to them? Over the phone? What were these phone numbers? Somehow there was a lot of communication post-death to know where to send the flowers, when the funeral was, when the casket was closed, etc. Who told him this stuff? And how was there no verification?
This is the biggest hole in the scandal to me. Carrying out a relationship probably involved a few people. But carrying out the death, if he was hoaxed, involved a lot more people.
My guess is he was in on it the whole time and was working to cover his tracks. Or, he wasn’t in on it initially but found out and the agreement was made to use the fake relationship to his advantage. On or around the 6th, those on the other end decided to threaten him. And that’s when he started to do damage control.
There are lots of people talking like this is a big cover-up because he’s gay. And honestly, I’ve had friends who lie and lie and lie to cover up their sexuality. While it’s happening, those closest to the person lying knows what’s going on. They piece together what’s not true, and are easily able to fish out the truth. If this was in fact a cover up to a gay relationship, maybe the other half was dumped and bitter and wanted to out the whole thing. I can’t really understand why people go to such lengths to hide who they are, but I’ve watched it happen.
If he wasn’t gay and he was duped, it’s very, very, very strange to me that someone would “know” someone for three years, but never meet her. He’s the second-best (based on the Heisman) college player in the country. College women, real-life ones, are throwing themselves at him. And this girl allegedly blows off all of their meet-ups? Who is going to put up with that? Who is going to commit to someone they’ve never met in person? I get that he’s all religious and chaste or whatever, but just because you don’t have sex doesn’t mean you don’t need that connection in person. Or at the very least Skype (which is free) or FaceTime. Te’o can’t be this stupid. He’s about to be rich and he already is famous.
In the meantime, there’s proof that those who carried out or knew about this hoax were mentioning him, by his handle, which shows up in your connections feed, and calling this a hoax. Did he not see this? Was this when things started to fall apart? This was prior to the risen from the dead phone call on the 6th, when Lennay allegedly called him from her original number and told him she was still alive and wanted to start the relationship up again. So if they were threatening before, maybe that’s what sent him into the tailspin panic.
A guy goes from the great American football hero. The next Tebow. To a liar and a manipulator.
At the very least, he is a liar. He did exaggerate the truth for his own ego-boosting and humble bragging. At the worst, he concocted this whole thing and people are pitying him. I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle.