The saga continues, kids.
Two days after it became public knowledge that Manti Te’o's girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, was never actually a real person, the former Notre Dame linebacker has still not spoken publicly to the media, except for the original statement he released.
Notre Dame’s AD, Jack Swarbrick, said today that the school is encouraging Te’o to speak on the matter, and added that they hope that happens sooner rather than later.
This whole thing is such a hot mess already that I don’t really know what Te’o's waiting for. Even if he has to come out and say, “look, America, I’m just a naive dope,” he needs to say it. It’s not doing him any favors to keep avoiding talking to the media, but it could end up hurting him if he doesn’t go public with his story soon.
News just broke that Te’o spoke off-camera with ESPN this evening, though, so the rest of us may finally get to hear from him soon.
In another crazy angle of the story, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser ran a story today which says that Kekua called Te’o at some point in December (which lines up with Swarbrick’s statement about Kekua contacting Te’o on Dec. 6th) and said she faked her death to avoid drug dealers. Yes, you read that right.
At that point, Te’o, who had become skeptical of the whole situation, apparently asked Kekua for a date stamped photo to prove that she was really real. She sent one, but that still wasn’t quite enough for Te’o. Kekua allegedly tried to rekindle the relationship a few times after that, but Te’o wasn’t biting, and instead went to his family and the school to explain. Also, regardless of how he felt about the whole situation, Te’o did keep the idea of his dead girlfriend going even after he found out it was all a sham.
Okay, I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath and clear your head before we get to the final part of today’s info.
Finally, a friend of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo told ESPN today that Tuiasosopo confessed to orchestrating the hoax in December, when he called her and bawled, explaining that Te’o was a victim and it had all been a giant lie. Tuiasosopo also said that Te’o was not the only one who was scammed. Two other people spoke with the network and said they believed their cousin was a victim of the Lennay hoax, too. Good grief.
P.S. This is a thing that is happening.