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Oh my! Manti Te'o story takes new and horrible twist

During the 13 months that I’ve covered him, Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis has proven himself to be 100 percent honest. It’s one of his most solid characteristics and one of the things on which he prides himself.

Another is his ability to read people, build relationships and have an impact on the lives of hundreds of young men throughout the past few decades.

That’s what makes today’s Deadspin story about the tale of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s girlfriend being a hoax seem like such an unbelievable thing.

Although Weis has talked very little about Notre Dame since taking over at Kansas in December of 2011, he has answered questions when asked and talked, both publicly and privately, about how much he values his relationship with Te’o and his family.

Weis certainly had nothing to do with any of this, but I can only imagine how much hearing this news hurts him emotionally, given the strong bond he has with the Te'o family, and how much it will really hurt him if it turns out to be true.

No one knows what to think right now but this much we do know: Deadspin’s report was wonderfully done and, if accurate, brings shame to the entire Te’o family.

Here's the official statement from Notre Dame released just moments ago:

Notre Dame Statement: Manti Te’o

On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators.

Dennis Brown University Spokesman | Assistant Vice President

Statement from Manti Te'o:

"This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her.

"To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.

"It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life.

"I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.

"In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.

"Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft."

;

Comments

andreainkansas 1 year, 2 months ago

Gee, it would be nice if the national media frenzy about this fake dead woman would give a fraction of this amount of coverage to the actual real female Notre Dame student who DID die this fall, committing suicide after reporting being sexually assaulted by a ND football player. And it sure would be swell if Notre Dame gave an ounce of the "support" they're giving T'eo who, if "innocent" was at most the victim of a prank/scam. As for real life female students who are raped? Not so much... http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/reported-sexual-assault-notre-dame-campus-leaves-more-questions-answers

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Geezer 1 year, 2 months ago

All that I know is that this story is far from over.

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jhawkrulz 1 year, 2 months ago

I think the story is incredibly weird; however, one thing that I still don't understand is how in the world is ESPN still in the reporting business.

The reporter that did the story was on ESPN yesterday talking how he should have checked facts and should have done this and that some things sounded weird, but he didn't want to question.

I think the reporter that did the original piece should be sued, and ESPN should face penalties for publishing information without sources or information.

However, I don't expect the media to actually do anything, because heaven forbid that the media be held to some minimum standard by the media.

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Reuben_J_Cogburn 1 year, 2 months ago

Regardless of what really happened, can we all just agree that two of the three Heisman candidates were weird dudes?

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phog1004 1 year, 3 months ago

Tait, has anyone reached out to Samson Faifili ? Not only is there a connection between Manti and Coach Weis, but Samson is Manti's cousin (second I believe) and had a good relationship with the Te'o family. If I am not mistaken, Manti and his father pushed Samson to commit to Charlie because of their close relationship and trust.

I'm sure he'd have no comment, but this weirdly ties KU to this story in the most miniscule way.

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Lifelong_Jayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

In other news, Manti Te'o has landed a new role on the daytime drama "The Young And The Restless".

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Jonathan Allison 1 year, 3 months ago

I think that there's a lot more to this story, and I know that many, if not most, people will not believe Te'o when he tries to tell it.

I don't know if I believe him or not, but I do know that stranger things have happened. Just like DallasHawk said, he could have been embarrassed to have never met her in person and so he made up some stories about meeting her. And sure, most of us would have dumped a girl if she stood us up like that, but we have no idea what she could have told him as an excuse for not making it to Hawaii to meet him.

The ND spokeperson last night said that the investigators had found internet chatter from the perpetrators of the hoax and that they were jaking about how they "got him (Te'o)". They don't HAVE to show anybody the evidence, but you know that the NFL teams are going to want to see it, and if Te'o wants to clear his name then he will have to release the evidence that he was the victim and not the perpetrator himself.

At first I figured that he had to be in on it because of his friendship with Roni Tuiasasopo, but it could be that he THOUGHT he was friends with Tui, and Tui was just playing him for a fool.

We don't know any of the details yet, but can't immediately say that this was stunt by Te'o to get Heisman pub.

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Ferd Magellan 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm betting there's more to this story. Some are saying he created this internet girlfriend so people wouldn't question why he isn't interested in ladies like all high profile male athletes. I don't know if I buy it, but it sure as heck would be hard to "come out" as a A) football player who B) goes to a religious college and C) is Mormon.

It could just be he was craving sympathy and attention in the Heisman race, but it there are so many easier ways to make people like you (with much less risk).

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Scott Smetana 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't see the big deal with this story. Must be nothing else in the news this week. Yawn.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 1 year, 3 months ago

Heard of girls faking it before...but damn!

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Janet Scott 1 year, 3 months ago

Humpty Dumpty (Te'o) sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall ...........

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BPSkelly 1 year, 3 months ago

As always... the cover up is worse than the crime. What db.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 1 year, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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dallashawk05 1 year, 3 months ago

He may have been embarrassed that it was only an online relationship... so he embelished details that they had met in person.... after he went to meet her and she was not there, he was embarrassed.

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Jason Wilson 1 year, 3 months ago

This is nothing but a kid getting caught up by an online predator

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Sparko 1 year, 3 months ago

Man--he is just piling on the lies now. He is in a hole and is continuing to dig. Look at his quotes; and note they he "met" her in Hawaii on several occasions. Um yeah. I agree that this was probably some ruse to cover his sexual orientation. But it makes you angry to see the media so easily manipulated.

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Steve Jacob 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't believe anything. To me, he is covering up his sexual orientation. Playing football, I don't blame him, but this is not how to do it.

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mphawk27 1 year, 3 months ago

To have come out with such a seemingly prepared and well thought-out statement so soon after this story broke earlier today is awfully fishy. I am not really buying any of this nonsense that the kid has nothing to do with it and had no idea whatsoever she was false is beyond me. The big kicker for me is that he claims to have talked to her every night on the phone before he went to sleep for 4 months. I'd love for somebody to pull those cell phone records and I'd bet my life savings on the fact that they do not exist. That would mean that someone behind this hoax would have found a woman willing to talk on the phone with this kid EVERY NIGHT FOR FOUR MONTHS just to set up this elaborate hoax? Even IF this mystery female hoax volunteer existed, she would have to be awfully convincing and dedicated to this cause. His story simply does not add up. The kid is a flat out, despicable liar. Worst sports scandal since Jerry Sandusky.

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BPSkelly 1 year, 3 months ago

The Deadspin piece seems well done. Great leg work by those guys. Now their sources could be lying about a lot of this, but its clear that this whole deal was never really on the up and up.

What strikes me is how stupid these folks could possibly be. What strikes me more is that either he had his parents in on it, or were bs'ing them as well the whole time. I can really get that read from the deadspin article.

It's obvious were going to know more about this than less though over the coming weeks. Weather one is a fan of the Deadspin crew or not, it appears they are on to something.

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Todd 1 year, 3 months ago

I seriously hope that Te'o really had nothing to do with this. As embarrassing as it is, I have been the victim of something similar. Got to know a girl in FL and when I went to visit after talking for a year there was nobody there and I was told to get lost when I returned home. So it is possible for people to be that cruel, but it would be even worse if this was some grand scheme to gain sympathy from the nation. He would've had the sympathy just from losing his grandmother. Just look at how KU Nation rallied around T-Rob.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm currently investigating if Klein and his girl kissed before they were married. Stay tuned...

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Phil Leister 1 year, 3 months ago

I just read that Deadspin story and holy crap is my head spinning...

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canuckhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Matt. It is easily to misunderstand your post such that it looks like Weis has something to do with the hoax. You start with saying there has never been a reason to question his honesty. Then that he is close to Manti. Then post the clip from ND that Manti has been the victim of a hoax. I looks like you are connecting Weis's integrity to the hoax. I don't think you are intending to imply anything about Weis, but the quick of your article without reading the deadspin piece seems to make that connection.

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Hurinfan 1 year, 3 months ago

Did Weis have anything to do with the hoax or do you mean hurting him emotionally?

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meatheadwisdom 1 year, 3 months ago

And now having read the Deadspin article that may be exactly what was intended...if it is true

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meatheadwisdom 1 year, 3 months ago

Before I read this I assumed the hoax was going to be a fictitious girlfriend who died to hopefully inspire Heisman votes. It'll be interesting to hear how things turn out.

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