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Manti Te’o lied about his girlfriend multiple times after finding out about hoax

manti-teoManti Te’o refused to sit down for an interview to share his side of the fake girlfriend story on Thursday, which has left us still scratching our heads and trying to fill in all the missing pieces. One thing that is preventing us from believing Te’o was not in on the hoax is the alleged timeline.

According to Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, Te’o found out he had been duped when he received a phone call from Lennay Kekua on Dec. 6 — months after her supposed death in October. However, there is evidence that he spoke about her existence multiple times after that day.

An Associated Press media review discovered two instances after Dec. 6 when Te’o spoke about Kekua. Here is the first, via CBSNews.com:

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Cancer victim’s family: No way Manti Te’o was involved with hoax

manti teo notre dameThe thing that makes comprehending the Mant Te’o fake girlfriend story so confusing for many of us is that we want to believe him. It’s human nature to feel like a person could not be capable of making up that traumatic of a story as a publicity stunt. For Brian and Louise Smith, believing that Te’o would have been in on the Lennay Kekua hoax is even more difficult.

The Smiths’ 12-year-old daughter, Bridget, lost a battle with cancer late last year. According to TMZ, Te’o wrote the family a letter back in October when he learned that Bridget was suffering from cancer. In it, the Notre Dame linebacker explained how he had just lost his girlfriend to cancer and could understand what they were going through. After Bridget passed away, Te’o met with her family and they shared an “emotional moment” together.

“It’s very hard for me to believe he made this up,” Louise Smith told TMZ, explaining how genuine Te’o was in expressing his concern for the family in the wake of their tragic loss. “I don’t believe it for a second. There’s no way this guy knew anything about this hoax.”

Louise also insisted that Te’o was not concerned with publicity, explaining that she asked him if she could share his letter with the media and he told her that was up to the family.

“That’s up to you … it was for you and your family,” she recalled Manti saying. “You do with it what you wish.”

Again, these are the stories that make us want to believe that Te’o was duped. To think that someone could get so wrapped up in a scheme that he would lie to a family whose daughter is dying of cancer is unfathomable. If Te’o was in on the hoax, stories like the one the Smiths and this ex-Stanford player shared help illustrate the extent to which he let the lie get out of control.

Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax ruins a lot of trust

manti-teoSay it ain’t so… Te’o. Just when you thought it was safe to believe in a feel-good sports story involving the strength of character in the face of tragedy, you get the Manti Te’o saga that erupted on Wednesday. And I was just starting to get my head around the apostrophe in his last name. (A D’Brickashaw he is not.) Touchdown Jesus may want to lay low until the heat dies down.

A little more than a week has passed since Notre Dame lost out in its bid to become national champion for the first time since 1988. Alabama dashed those hopes, presumably the biggest damage done by a tide since Noah came floating by.

The story of how Notre Dame reached the National Championship Game was largely written on the shoulders of their burly Heisman-candidate linebacker Manti Te’o, who captured the hearts and minds of many with his story of perseverance despite the death of his grandmother and cancer-stricken girlfriend.

His now-alleged girlfriend, a supposedly former Stanford student by the name of Lennay Kekua, made the Te’o story something worthy of a Hollywood script (an appellation since diminished by the “Twilight” series). Never mind that a purely defensive player hasn’t been deemed worthy of the award since Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997, Te’o’s (too many apostrophes for one man) prodigious performances earned him national acclaim and bolstered the national titles hope of a woebegone program. The story of his lost love was picked up numerous national media.

While his acuity on the field isn’t to be diminished, the nation has come to know they were duped. No cancer-stricken girlfriend. No lost love. No final words of “I love you.” Nothing. We were painted a picture that was one part Georgia O’Keefe, two parts George O’Leary.

It was misdirection, trickery: a boy-in-the-well story meant to grab attention perhaps for a player who may have been deserving of Heisman accolades but may not have gotten them otherwise. It immediately hearkened back to 1971, when the school convinced Joe Theismann to change the pronunciation of his last name to rhyme with the award, as if his on-the-field prowess were not enough.

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Darnell Dockett is having a field day with the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend story

Darnell-Dockett-CardinalsArizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett has always been one to speak his mind or, should we say, tweet his mind. As we learned when he hit on AJ McCarron’s gilfriend over Twitter last week, the 31-year-old loves throwing his two cents in when it comes to stories that have the country buzzing.

On Thursday, Dockett decided to weigh in on the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend saga by sending the following tweet to the Notre Dame linebacker:

Darnell-Dockett-Manti-Teo-tweet

As Deadspin pointed out, “KOD” is an acronym for the King of Diamonds strip club. I don’t think midgets have anything to do with the current story, unless there are even more weird details that I missed. Then again, we have to remember who we are dealing with. This is the same guy who sent an explicit tweet about how he needed some loving the day after Christmas, so Dockett is known to fly off the handle and say ridiculous things.

That wasn’t all Dockett had to say. He also took some time to heckle former teammate Reagan Mauia about his bizarre involvement with the story.

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Spirit Airlines mocks Manti Te’o with advertisement about low fares (Picture)

Spirit-Airlines-Manti-Teo

The Manti Te’o fake girlfriend story is easily the biggest news in the nation at the moment, which is why companies like Spirit Airlines are already cashing in on the buzz surrounding it. As you can see from the photo above that @TheBenBaker shared on Twitter, Spirit Airlines is currently running an advertisement for low fares that is written in the same font as Notre Dame’s famous “Play Like a Champion Today” sign. Only this one says:

“No hoax! These fares really are low.”

It also plays up the whole “catfishing” angle, with a picture of a catfish in the bottom right corner.

As we continue to try to figure out what the heck is actually going on — with no help from people like this NFL fullback — we can expect the jabs at Te’o to keep on coming. Airline advertisements and social media trends called Te’oing are merely the beginning.

H/T Darren Rovell

Troy Polamalu wants nothing to to with the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend story

Former Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Mauia added even more confusion to the story of Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend on Wednesday night when he claimed to have met the non-existent young lady, Lennay Kekua. Like most of the details that have emerged since Deadspin broke the major story, Mauia’s recollection of how and when he met Kekua makes little sense.

In addition to describing Kekua as a beautiful young woman who “looked like a model,” Mauia also mentioned that he met her in 2011 when he and some other players went to do charity work in American Samoa. One of the players that ESPN.com said he mentioned was Troy Polamalu, but Mauia took to Twitter on Thursday morning to insist that the Steelers safety has nothing to do with the bizarre story.

Polamalu retweeted Mauia’s tweet to his followers, so clearly he is concerned about having his name associated with what has become one of the most insane stories in sports history. Mauia also asked that people leave the Cardinals out of it, since he is no longer with the team.

The fact that Mauia mentioned Polamalu’s name and is now insisting he had nothing to do with it makes his side of the story even less credible.

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Manti Te’o answered question about fake girlfriend in January after he supposedly knew it was a hoax

Manti-Teo-press-conferenceAs of now, Manti Te’o appears to be sticking to the story that he found out that his dead girlfriend Lennay Kekua never actually existed on Dec. 6. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick says Te’o got a phone call on that day from the voice he had previously known as Kekua’s, and that’s when he realized he had been duped.

Naturally, reporters were still interested in what they thought was a tragic story leading up to the BCS National Championship Game. During a press conference on Jan. 3, Te’o was asked about how he has been coping with the passing of his grandmother and the so-called love of his life. He gave the following response, via Buzzfeed.

“I think whenever you’re in football, it takes your mind off a lot of things,” Te’o replied. “You know, this team is very special to me, and the guys on it have always been there for me, through the good times and the bad times.

“I rarely have a quiet time to myself because I always have somebody calling me, asking, do you want to go to the movies. Coach is always calling me asking me, “Are you okay? Do you need anything?” I have three roommates, Zeke, Carlo and Robby Toma, who are always yelling at each other, who’s going to play Call of Duty. I’m rarely by myself, and that’s how I like it. I’m always around my guys, always around my family.”

In fairness to Te’o — if he deserves any — he didn’t say anything specific about Kekua. If he did indeed know that he was the victim of a hoax at the time, he obviously wasn’t going to reveal that just a few days before Notre Dame was set to face Alabama for the national title. Either Te’o was in on it, or he went to great lengths like this to make the story believable. Regardless of what you believe, I think we can all agree that the entire thing is eery.

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