Outsports.com, which is the leading website on all matters relating to gay athletes/gays in sports, is questioning Manti Te’o’s sexual orientation in light of the story about his fake girlfriend. The site had the following headline as its featured story on Wednesday night: “Is Manti Te’o gay? Girlfriend hoax has many people asking.”
In the article, Cyd Zeigler Jr. says he was bombarded “on email, text, Twitter and phone calls about [Teo's] sexual orientation” in light of the story.
Te’o and Notre Dame are claiming that the linebacker was the victim of an elaborate hoax involving multiple characters. They say he was duped into believing that a person posing as “Lennay Kekua” was real and that he had a relationship with her for years despite never meeting her in person.
Zeigler writes that creating a fake girlfriend is a good ruse to cover up one’s homosexuality:
I can certainly understand why people think this might be pointing to his sexual orientation. There has never been a publicly out NFL player. There has never been a publicly out Div. 1 football player. But we know they’re out there. And if they were out there and wanted to hide their sexual orientation — or a relationship with another man — a fictitious girlfriend is a good way to do it. The fantastic story about car accidents and death by leukemia would just be showing off that stereotypical gay flair for the dramatic.
Zeigler even referenced a past scheme pulled by an older gay man who created a false identity as a teenage hockey player, and later used his fake identity to proposition someone.
Te’o and Notre Dame say the linebacker never met Kekua in person. A story related by the South Bend Tribune in October contradicts that assertion. They say Te’o met Kekua after the Stanford-Notre Dame game in 2009.
Here’s what the story (since removed from the South Bend Tribune’s website) said:
It never felt like a chance meeting, although it probably appeared that way from the outside looking in.
Their stares got pleasantly tangled, then Manti Te’o extended his hand to the stranger with a warm smile and soulful eyes.
They could have just as easily brushed past each other and into separate sunsets. Te’o had plenty to preoccupy himself that November weekend in Palo Alto, Calif., back in 2009.
Lennay Kekua was a Stanford student and Cardinal football fan when the two exchanged glances, handshakes and phone numbers that fateful weekend three seasons ago.
Why would Te’o lie about how he and Kekua met? Was he embarrassed about having an online relationship? Possibly. But note that nobody from Te’o’s family had ever met Kekua. Whatever Te’o’s family knew of Kekua was told to them by Manti. Any text messages or phone calls they received from her could have been made by anyone.
Outsports isn’t the only outlet that seems to be wondering if Te’o is gay. CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman seemed to hint at the possibility in these tweets:
Theory about why Manti did what he did has reached NFL team circles and if true absolutely explains his actions.
— mike freeman (@realfreemancbs) January 17, 2013
If this theory is true, Manti would end up being one of the most important stories in history.
— mike freeman (@realfreemancbs) January 17, 2013
Deadspin’s report on the Te’o hoax said that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was behind the Lennay Kekua fake identity. Deadspin says Tuiasosopo and Te’o know each other, and they quote a source who is 80 percent certain Te’o was in on the hoax.
Then, there’s this tweet from a Terrence Dado Luapo, whose Twitter handle references 90745, which is a Carson, Calif., zip code. Carson has a high Pacific Islander population, and it is supposedly where Kekua’s funeral was held. A tweet from the Luapo account — which seems to be very familiar with Tuiasosopo — suggests Tuiasosopo enjoys looking at naked men:
i hope @mteo_5 didnt send lennay any nude pics. ronaiah prolly posted them on his piano so he can look at them while he plays @ church lmao
— TERRENCE DADO LUAPO (@BAMM90745) January 16, 2013
Below is the rest of the South Bend Tribune article that discusses Te’o’s relationship with Kekua. The article has been deleted by the website.
She was gifted in music, multi-lingual, had dreams grounded in reality and the talent to catch up to them.
The plan was for Kekua to spend extensive time with the whole Te’o family when upwards of 40 of them came to South Bend in mid-November for ND’s Senior Day date with Wake Forest.
“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. But within the last year, they became a couple.
“And we came to the realization that she could be our daughter-in-law. Sadly, it won’t happen now.”
About the time Kekua and Manti became a couple, she was injured in an auto accident. There were complications during her recovery. And it was also during her recovery that it was discovered Kekua had leukemia.
“That was just in June,” Brian Te’o said. “I remember Manti telling me later she was going to have a bone marrow transplant and, sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. From all I knew, she was doing really, really well.”
Kekua, who eventually graduated from Stanford, was, in fact, doing so well that she was released from the hospital on Sept. 10. And Brian Te’o was among those congratulating her via telephone.
Less than 48 hours later, at 4 a.m. Hawaii time, Kekua sent a text to Brian and Ottilia, expressing her condolences over the passing of Ottilia’s mom, Annette Santiago, just hours before.
Brian awakened three hours later, saw the text, and sent one back. There was no response. A couple of hours later, Manti called his parents, his heart in pieces.
Lennay Kekua had died.
Te’o’s family never met her.
There has never been an openly gay NFL or division I college football player, though some former players have come out after retiring.
When asked about gays in football, Vikings punter Chris Kluwe recently told “The Colbert Report” that “you’d be surprised.” Many current and former NFL players have said they would support a gay teammate.
H/T The Wiz of OddsGoogle+