Thursday, January 17, 2013

CATFISH: The 9 craziest things about the Manti Te'o hoax story

Manti Te'o Knows He Didn't Keep It Real

There are dozens of crazy things associated with the Manti Te'o "hoax story," first reported by Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey of The first, of course, is the hoax itself: Contrary to national reports, Te'o's girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, not only didn't die in September, she never existed at all.  Outside of that one huge, enormous, unavoidable fact, here are the nine craziest aspects to Deadspin's Te'o-girlfriend-hoax story:

1. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who Deadspin alleged created the Kekua persona, was friends with Te'o. Deadspin suggests in its piece (citing tweets by Tuiasosopo) that Te'o and Tuiasosopo met and spent time together during Notre Dame's trip to play USC in early December.

2. A friend of Tuiasosopo's told Deadspin that he was "80% sure" that Te'o was "in on it."
3. Stanford never had any record of anyone by the name Lennay Kekua attending the university. One of the original stories about Te'o and Kekua came in the Nov. 28, 2009 edition of the South Bend Tribune, which identified Kekua as a Stanford student.
4. After Notre Dame's 13-6 win over Michigan on Sept. 22, coach Brian Kelly awarded the game ball to Kekua. He gave it to Te'o and said "take this back to Hawaii," said the Deadspin story.

5. Te'o spoke about his girlfriend in a postgame interview with ESPN's Heather Cox following a win over Michigan State on Sept. 15:  "They were with me. So, I couldn't do without them," he said, speaking of his girlfriend and his grandmother, who died on Sept. 11. "I couldn't do without the support of my family and my girlfriend's family. I'm so grateful for all the love and support that all the fans, both Michigan State and Notre Dame, and fans around the world for supporting me and my family and my girlfriend's family. I miss them. I miss them. But I know that I'll see them again one day."

 6. "CBS This Morning" aired a story on Te'o and his girlfriend on the morning of the BCS championship game on Jan. 7. During the piece, Deadspin reports, CBS displayed a photo of Kekua "several times." Deadspin reached out to the woman whose face was actually being shown during the CBS piece. From the Deadspin article:  "This week, we got in touch with a woman living in Torrance, Calif. We'll call her Reba, to protect her identity. She was initially confused, then horrified to find that she had become the face of a dead woman. 'That picture,' she told us over the phone, 'is a picture of me from my Facebook account.'"
7. The Te'o family never met Kekua, though Te'o's father had exchanged text messages with someone going by that name. The group was scheduled to meet during Notre Dame's senior day on Nov. 17, according to Deadspin.

 8. Te'o himself told Notre Dame officials he never met Kekua, contrary to a story written about the pair in the South Bend Tribune.

9. On Nov. 21, Te'o sent out the following tweet: "The worst thing you can do is fool yourself!"

Is this another case of #Catfish or has Manti Te'o been fooling us all? In hopes of securing Notre Dame a Heisman Trophy Winner. This storyline became unreal after the facts arose that Te'o's assumed girlfriend had been diagnosed with Cancer. Te'o didn't visit her. As time went on and she supposedly lose her battle with Leukemia, Te'o didn't even attend the funeral. This storyline has became familiar and often associated with the T.V. Show #Catfish. In 2013, has it really came to the point of Google Searching photos to authenticate a woman's identity. Or do people just need to stop attempting to have online relationships with individuals they've never met.