Te’o Today: The Tangled Web Of Manti & His Girl (And Some Other People, Too)

If you’re like the rest of us, you’re still trying to wrap your brain around this insane “Manti Te’o had a girlfriend but she didn’t actually exist in real life but he apparently believed she did” story.

After the Deadspin story came the Notre Dame statement and the Te’o statement and the Jack Swarbrick presser and a barrage of information that came from all different angles, including:

  • An Arizona Cardinals player who claims to have met Lennay Kekua
  • An anonymous Irish player who says Te’o’s a liar but things also kinda snowballed thanks to the media
  • This video, wherein Te’o says Kekua wrote him a letter before the Stanford game this season even though she’d died (“died?”) a month before it took place:

If that’s not enough to drive you batty, a tweet came from an account with the handle @LennayKay a few hours after Swarbrick’s presser:

Then came a couple of people who began tweeting out even more information. First, we have Justin Megahan, who did some solid Googling and discovered a whole bunch of tweets from the people who may be behind this hoax:

Next up is someone who goes by Jay R. and is the guy revealed in the previous tweets:

And then there’s this:

Plus, a former Stanford football player weighed in on the situation:

So what does it all mean, other than that this is a huge tangled web of confusion? Was Te’o fooled all along? Did he figure out what was going on, and just wait to tell other people? Was he in on things from the get-go?

If the answer is that he really was duped and had no idea that his girlfriend never really existed, that makes him seem pretty naive and gullible, and it’s weird that he never thought twice about not Skype-ing or there being a lack of a death notice/obituary/remembrance piece, but okay.

If in fact he at some point figured out that the whole thing was a sham but was too embarrassed to admit what happened, then he needs to apologize for perpetuating the falsehoods. I really don’t think he was in on this from the beginning, but if he was, then he really needs to apologize.

Regardless of which scenario is true, Te’o needs to speak up soon and clear the air. It may be painful and/or embarrassing, but the longer he waits to talk, the more time there is for other information to come out, and the less likely people are to believe him.

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