We’ve now known about this crazy Manti Te’o story for a little over 24 hours, and it continues to become weirder and more confusing every time new info is revealed.
First, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick said last night that Te’o might speak today. Instead, here’s what happened:
It’s kind of important that we hear from him, since he is, you know, at the center of this story, but alas, so far Manti has been mute, save for that statement he released yesterday where he said he was embarrassed and a victim.
Some people have talked, though. A former Fighting Irish teammate apparently told ESPN’s Bob Holtzman that plenty of players knew Lennay Kekua wasn’t actually Te’o's girlfriend (but they just went with it?)
Then Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated released the full transcript of his interview with Te’o earlier this season, where they talk at length about Kekua. Some highlights:
- Te’o says they met at a game in California, when Notre Dame was playing USC…not Stanford, like basically all other outlets have reported
- Te’o says Kekua took over for her father at a construction business, even though she really wants to work with kids and even flew to New Zealand to do just that! (She did all this while being 22 years old and ill?)
- Te’o is unclear as to exactly when she graduated and what she majored in
- Thamel says he’ll get in touch with Stanford to find out about Kekua’s major…but that must’ve never happened?
- Te’o says Kekua had been cleared to fly and come to a game, but she died before she could
- Thamel questions Te’o about a ring he’s wearing, which Te’o says has religious significance
- Te’o says Kekua was in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, and was then diagnosed with leukemia
- Te’o mentions the all-night/asleep phone calls, and adds it’s a good thing she had AT&T or his family would’ve killed him (I laughed at that)
- Te’o explains that Kekua wrote letters to him before every game, and her siblings took turns reading them to him from an iPad
Outside of the flaws in Thamel’s reporting/fact-checking, Te’o's story still doesn’t seem to quite add up. While Te’o may have been duped originally, it seems as though he must have known what was up at some point, especially given all the small details that have been shared. For now, it appears questions will become answers will become questions all over again.
So, another day, another batch of information, another poll: