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Bill Simmons: I’ve been waiting for Jeff Green to start dating Manti Te’o

Bill-SimmonsLeave it to Bill Simmons to be one of the first sports analysts to break out a Manti Te’o fake girlfriend reference. Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green has been incredibly inconsistent this season. Every time he rips off a streak of games where he puts up 15-plus points and throws down a dunk like this, it seems like he comes back with three more where he is a complete non-factor. Friday night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls was one of those stinkers.

In a game where the Celtics lost by a point in overtime and could have used a boost from their bench, Green scored just two points in 19 minutes. After the game, Simmons pointed out that Green was invisible — in a way only “The Sports Guy” could.

“Jeff Green, he’s been invisible,” Simmons said. “I mean, I keep waiting for him to start dating Manti Te’o.”

Michael Wilbon did not approve, but I got a cheap laugh out of it. If you believe that Te’o was not in on the hoax after hearing stories like this, you might be less apt to crack jokes at his expense. I’m actually starting to believe Te’o, but he still deserves to be made fun of for being so damn naive.

H/T The Big Lead

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo reportedly confessed, apologized to Manti Te’o

ronaiah tuiasosopo manti teo

Manti Te’o sat down with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap for his first interview since it was revealed on Wednesday that his supposed girlfriend who allegedly died of leukemia in September was a hoax.

The interview was not shown by ESPN, but Schaap reported on SportsCenter Friday evening that Te’o told him he was not convinced that Lennay Kekua was not real until Wednesday.

Schaap says Te’o told him that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man believed to have been behind the Kekua fabrication the entire time, called and Twitter messaged him on Wednesday to apologize for running the whole scam.

Schaap says Te’o told him that he lied to his father, Brian, about his relationship with Kekua, which explains why some of the stories printed about Te’o’s relationship with Kekua that were sourced by Brian contained false information.

According to Schaap, Te’o, while in Hawaii over Christmas break, told his parents he was going out to meet Kekua on New Year’s in 2012. Kekua never showed but, Te’o, not wanting to get into a long discussion with his parents about it, told them he saw her.

Te’o denied having a role in the scam.

Fake girlfriend reportedly told Manti Te’o she faked death to avoid drug dealers

manti teo notre dameThe person posing as Manti Te’o’s girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, told the former Notre Dame linebacker in December that she faked her death in September in order to avoid drug dealers, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reports.

According to a timeline of events provided by Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick on Wednesday shortly after Deadspin broke the story of Te’o’s girlfriend being a hoax, the linebacker first realized something was wrong with the Kekua situation when he received a phone call from the number he associated with her while he was in Orlando for a college football awards show on Dec. 6.

The Star Advertiser says Te’o has told friends and family that the woman whose voice he knew to be Kekua’s called him in December and said she had to fake her death in September in order to avoid drug dealers. Te’o reportedly told friends and family that the woman tried to re-engage in a relationship with him. Te’o asked the woman to send him a time-stamped photo to help him sort through the matter. His suspicion remained even after receiving the photo, and he later told his family and the school about the scam.

Notre Dame said on Wednesday that Te’o alerted them about the hoax on Dec. 26, nearly three weeks after they say he received the bizarre phone call from the person posing as Kekua.

ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap reported that Te’o told him a similar story about Kekua resurfacing in December with a story about having to avoid drug dealers.

Deadspin reported on Wednesday that a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was behind the Kekua scam. Tuiasosopo reportedly admitted to a friend in December that he scammed Te’o.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo reportedly admitted to friend that he was behind the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax

manti-teoAnd the plot thickens. On Friday morning, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo called a close friend from his church in early December to confess that he was behind the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax. The friend, who ESPN said is a woman in her mid-20s, agreed to be interviewed under the condition of anonymity in fear of her family’s safety. However, she did allow for her voice to be recorded.

The woman reportedly told ESPN that Tuiasosopo called her at the beginning of December and gave her a “tearful confession,” explaining that he had played a prank on Te’o and that it wasn’t the first time he had done something like this.

“He (Ronaiah) told me that Manti was not involved at all, he was a victim. … The girlfriend was a lie, the accident was a lie, the leukemia was a lie,” the woman explained. “He was crying, he was literally crying, he’s like ‘I know, I know what I have to do.’

“It’s not only Manti, but he was telling me that it’s a lot of other people they had done this to.”

The friend also told ESPN that Tuiasosopo admitted to having his female cousin speak to Te’o over the phone and repeatedly pose as Lennay Kekua. Outside the Lines spoke with two other people who said their cousin was the victim of a hoax orchestrated by Ronaiah that was similar to the one he pulled on Te’o.

[Read more...]

Manti Te’os uncle calls Ronaiah Tuiasosopo a ‘liar’ who was trying to raise money for a leukemia foundation

Ronaiah TuiasosopoManti Te’o still has yet to come out and speak about the incident involving his fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua, but his great uncle Alema Te’o tried to shed some light on the situation on Thursday. During an interview with 1280 The Zone in Salt Lake City, Alema described Ronaiah Tuiasosopo as a “shady character” who was trying to attach himself to Manti for either financial gain, publicity or both.

Alema says he first met Tuiasosopo in a hotel lobby in Los Angeles and instantly felt that there was something off about him. Alema Te’o runs a football camp in American Samoa, and he says Tuiasosopo was taking credit for many of the things that Alema had done with the program.

Alema said Tuiasosopo had a 9-year-old girl named Pookah with him at the time. He said Manti was “mesmerized” with Pookah, whom he had spoken to on the phone before and was allegedly the cousin of Lennay Kekua. In fact, Alema said Manti spoke to Pookah on the phone before while Kekua was still alive but was supposedly too sick to talk.

During their meeting, Alema says Tuiasosopo stood over Pookah with his hands on her shoulders, almost controlling what she was saying. He said it later turned out that Pookah was Ronaiah’s younger sister and that he was using her as a pawn in his elaborate scheme. A scheme, Alema says, that was put in place so that Tuiasosopo could gain notoriety for his leukemia research foundation.

[Read more...]

Manti Te’o reportedly covered up hoax in attempt to not distract Notre Dame

manti teo notre dameWhen Manti Te’o finally decides to come out and tell his side of the girlfriend hoax story, he will have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to the timeline of events. If he sticks with the story that he found out that Lennay Kekua didn’t exist when he received a phone call from her on Dec. 6 (months after she supposedly died of leukemia), how will Te’o explain the fact that he continued to pretend she was real on multiple occasions after that day?

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said on Wednesday that Te’o finally decided to come clean to some of his coaches and a few teammates on Dec. 26. According to TMZ, sources close to the star linebacker say he kept the lie going for 20 days to prevent it from becoming a distraction for the team.

But sources tell us … Manti didn’t tell his coaches about the hoax until Dec. 26 … because he thought it would be a huge distraction while the team prepared to face Alabama in the BCS Championship.

During the 20 days, we’re told Manti struggled over how to handle the situation … but eventually felt compelled to come clean to his coaches.

Whether you believe Te’o or not, it’s hard to argue with that reasoning. In retrospect it doesn’t make a difference since Alabama destroyed the Fighting Irish anyway, but look how big of a news story this has become. Had Te’o admitted to being duped prior to the BCS National Championship Game and told everyone that the most inspirational story of the calendar year was nothing but a hoax, there’s no way Notre Dame would have been able to focus on the game. Not that Te’o was able to focus anyway, which is probably why he played so horribly.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo reportedly auditioned for ‘The Voice’ and had a story about a car accident

Ronaiah TuiasosopoThe man who is allegedly behind the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax may have a history of making up fake tragedies. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who Deadspin fingered as the man behind the mythical Lennay Kekua character, has reportedly had stories about car accidents aside from the one that Kekua was supposedly involved in.

A report from US Weekly on Thursday cited an insider from the NBC television show “The Voice” who claims Tuiasosopo once auditioned to become a contestant on the show, which is a singing competition. Ronaiah reportedly had a dramatic story.

“He had this insane sob story before [he sang],” the source said. “It would make for great TV.”

Tuiasosopo reportedly told the producers of the show that he and his cousins, who were in a Christian band together, got into a “massive” car accident on their way to play a show at a youth conference in Nevada. He said that a truck crashed into their vehicle and sent them flipping across the freeway, adding that doctors initially feared one of the band members could be brain dead. However, they all ended up being fine.

Depending on when the audition took place, Tuiasosopo might have been telling the truth.

The original Deadspin report that first exposed the hoax stated that Tuiasosopo was in a car crash in March, a month before his supposed character — Lennay Kekua — was involved in one. A posting on Instagram by a woman claiming to be Tuiasosopo’s cousin supports the car accident story, as does a Facebook posting by Ronaiah’s father, Titus.

“2012 was a year to remember. Said farewell to some loved ones, my middle child graduated from high school, witnessed the marital union of several family & friends, my son & his band survived a horrific accident, we enjoyed an incredible season of growth @ my church & The Clete House won our league championship,” Titus wrote on Facebook Dec. 31, 2012.

USA Today confirmed with California Highway Patrol that Tuiasosopo was involved in a two-car crash on March 23. Titus reportedly kept people updated about his son and two nephews’ recovery from the crash via his Facebook page. He reportedly said his nephews were briefly in intensive care.

According to the insider, Tuiasosopo had to pass a background check and psych evaluation as part of the show’s standard procedure.

See all our stories on Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend

H/T Deadspin