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The Manti Te’o Conspiracy

Notre Dame Football - Manti Te'o BCS Championship

Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o (5) walks off the field after the 2013 BCS Championship game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Sun Life Stadium. Alabama won 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

What was arguably the biggest story of college football in 2012, has now become the story that never was. A somber tale of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o losing his Grandmother and alleged girlfriend in the span of 6 hours on the same day, had captivated not only the sports nation, but the nation in general. Events took place that softened the hearts of the most hardened, and had people who despise Irish football, rooting for a man who had dealt with two substantial emotional blows, and still found the strength to lead his team on the field in victory. As the story spread, and media outlets picked up on it, it started to gain momentum. So much so, that it thrust Te’o into the national spotlight and he found himself emotionally recanting the story on national television, and allowed the nation to mourn with him.

As the season progressed, the story would be covered in promos for pregame analysis, and post game interviews week after week. While the story became its own entity off the field, Te’o had elevated his play on the field. The combination of the linebacker’s play, and his seemingly unwavering loyalty to his family and team, had launched his name into the Heisman discussion. Neither Te’o or his story would lose steam as the Irish kept winning, and his determination was on display week in and week out, for the nation to see. He became so popular and beloved as a man and as a player, that he would eventually make his way to New York, and find himself as a Heisman finalist, and eventually the runner-up.

Fast forward to January 16th, 2013. A day like any other day, until mid-afternoon when an online publication by the name of “Deadspin” had released a story that was so alarming and unbelievable, that it read more like a story from the satirical site “The Onion”. The article claimed that the story the nation had become so engrossed in with Manti Te’o, was nothing more than an elaborate hoax, and one that Manti himself might have been in on. We are sure you know the story by now, and more details keep pouring in, seemingly on an hourly basis. What makes the story so difficult to accept and understand, is that there no reasoning behind it. If Te’o was truly using this as a tool to garner sympathy and votes for the Heisman race, one figures he could have simply used the death of his grandmother, Annette Santiago, to do so.

Now there are reports that teammates knew that Lennay Kekua wasn’t Manti’s girlfriend as early as the Michigan State game this season. One teammate asking for anonymity, stated “No we all knew he had only seen her once.  But when the media was saying how he went through both deaths we knew”.  There have also been reports that a family friend of Manti, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, may have been behind all of this, including the fake twitter account of the alleged girlfriend, and her sister. Friends of Tuiasosopo and Manti have gone on record as stating that they are 80% sure that Manti was in on it, and did so seeking publicity. Te’o was expected to do an interview yesterday with ESPN’s Jeremy Schapp, but for reasons unknown, that interview was canceled. There have also been reports of roommates of Manti, being there when he received the call about the “love of his life” passing, and describing a young man in terrible pain, and enduring horrible emotional trauma.

Just when the world was ready to accept that Lennay Kekua never existed, former Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Maui’a claims to have met the “fictitious” girlfriend before her and Manti were supposedly an item. What this implies is that if Ronaiah Tuiasosopo did truly pull one over on Te’o, he did the same thing to Maui’a, and went as far as to have someone physically faking to be her, and spend time with the then Cardinal fullback. To help validate the meeting(s) Maui’a went on to describe the young lady “”She was tall,” he said. “Volleyball-type of physique. She was athletic, tall, beautiful. Long hair. Polynesian.  She looked like a model … ” Maui’a claimed that the two met in 2011 at a charity event, and it was none other than Tuiasosopo that introduced them.  Does this also mean that the young woman that Te’o met with and spent time on the field after Notre Dame’s loss in Palo Alto, was also someone who was pretending to be Lennay Kekua?

If you are familiar with social media, then you obviously are aware of the craziness that has surrounded this story on Twitter. People have flocked to the social media format to express their thoughts, share questions, and of course make jokes. Some have been in good nature, while others have not been so kind to any of the parties involved.

“I love Mant’i, I truly do, but this is the “love of your life” and you never met her?  That’s kind of crazy just saying.”

“If Manti Te’o is telling the truth, talk now. Delaying looks like he needs time to concoct a story. Truth takes no time”

“Doesn’t sound like a “hoax.”  It sounds like a pathological liar got caught in the little world he created”

“Wall Street Journal reporting Manti Te’o already millions of dollars in debt after promising millions to starving Nigerian emailers”

These are just some examples of personal Tweets from people, and there were many, many more that not only crucified Te’o, but Notre Dame also. Speaking of the University, Notre Dame’s Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick held his own press conference, and with a very heavy heart, emotionally stated that Manti Te’o is “the single most trusting individual I have ever met.” And also said that “Every single thing about this was real to Manti,” “There was no suspicion. The grief was real, the affection was real, and that’s the sad nature of this cruel game.” Swarbrick made it abundantly clear that he and the University are fully behind Mr. Te’o. He also claimed that the relationship between Manti and Lennay was “exclusively an online relationship.” Which brought into question again the supposed meeting in Palo Alto between the two.

The next few days will be very interesting for everyone who is following this story. Details are sure to come, some verified, and some not, and it will be up to the individual on what they choose to believe or not. We know this, whatever the outcome winds up being, this is truly a sad story. One that involves deceit, possible conspiracy, and disregard for the fellow being. We truly hope that Irish fans themselves, understand they have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. No matter what the outcome, this story consists of individuals that acted not on the behalf of the University or its football team, but rather on their own. Although media and people not part of Irish nation will surely try to depict Irish fans and their program in a negative way, this incident in no way defines the University of Notre Dame, its football team, or its fans.

60 comments

  1. I didn’t mean to infer that you were picking on OSU or their factually correct weak schedules of the recent past or near future. I don’t like competing against or having to watch the Kent’s, Akron’s, etc. more than anyone else. I also don’t mean to diminish any anguish felt over the Manti saga, it is a murky situation and there are no winners here.

    I don’t ever remember this amount of disdain for OSU’s non-conference schedule. Is it because the Big Ten was so disrespected this year? Maybe, but Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin and even Northwestern gave a good account of themselves in their bowl games. In ’02 we rounded up the usual suspects and even needed an INT late to hold off Cicinnati(?) but nobody talks about that because I guess the Big Ten was perceived to be stronger that year and we beat a Miami team that was supposed to destroy us. And to be clear, when I say there was disdain for OSU’s schedule this year it came from all corners not just here.

    I am glad the Buckeyes were ineligible this year because while I would relish a matchup with ND I there would have been a grave injustice done. Alabama was the best team whether we like it or not. Besides, I have seen the comments here and while we may not enjoy losing to teams that we don’t like it points out your(our) weaknesses and it makes us better. How good will it feel for the first team that breaks the SEC dominance?

  2. to cotinue–larger tha life photos of Eddie George photos with the Notre Dame game of 95 are placed there? Big win, huh? Indeed it was.
    BTW, HOW HAVE TYPED THIS IS NOT THE WAY IT HAS BEEN POSTED ON THIS SITE. ONE HUGE POST WAS TO HAVE BEEN PLACED–WITH REFENCE TO BUCKEYE

    Buckeye you are on this site out of curiousity for Manti and what ND fans are saying. Pray for him. I pray for many a player ND or not and hope that they can find themselves in a world which is relentless when a public figure especially a 21 year old BOY falls from grace. Sorry about the type errors–and good luck to your team. I WISH YOUR boys would have forfeited the right to play LAST year so that OSU could have played ND this year. Alabma was too much for us and we didn’t have a game plan. OPSU QB would have given us a lot but ND would have won. We will never know!!
    Again–pray for Manti–he needs it. I guess we all do.

  3. Buckeye–your insight is interesting. My main reference in this post was about Teo and how the media will lick their chops, attack and get their own story for only so long. My heart goes out to him and to anyone who has been placed on a pedestal only to be shot down and shot more when they are wounded. He didn’tc commit a crime, he didn’t do crack, sell things for profit and break these NCAA rules–which should be all to familiar to you. He did get sucked in to a situation which is sad, pathetic and as I stated before —the bitter side of a naive portion of his life. I pray he gets counseling and looks forward to a prosperous and healthy life.
    My reference to OSU ( and others) was that things don’t last forever. Things do go in cylces. The individual above our “dialogue” was names Hurls. He said ND Last championship 1988??? Dont worry be happy. My reference to THAT in context was I do not believe that will be the LAST title given to ND because of all things cyclical. The SEC can’t win forever and some teams had to wait a LONG time for a national title including perennial powers such as your Buckeyes and Michigan. THAt was my refrence.
    As for the reference to the schedule I was not quite clear, was I? Poor writing indeed on my part. What I MEANT Buckeye was that OSU , MIchigan and others have soft non conference games which serve only to bolster the halfway point to bowl eligibility with 3 wins in the Septmeber home games at Noon which are basic snooze fests with the likes of Akron, Kent and next year opening with Buffalo.( My brother in law bleeds scarlet and gray and stated that he would not walk across the street for free to see his Buckeyes given where things are right now. These are his words not mine.)
    To be sure, OSU did play Texas and USC –and NOtre Dame and Boston College and Miami and ???? all the in state teams time and time again. The games against ND were slaughters for the Buckeyes. The games with Texas and USC were rare–good games to be sure. The Big Ten has been less than impressive and all who truly analyze football can see that. NOt to be defensive whatsoever, if OSU had a National Scheudle they may find it difficult to play well outside of the midwest most of the time. While the Dispatch and the Boards of fans complain about the Soutern teams not coming north to play the Big ten in “cold Novembers” one must remember that it is very, very rare that the ” Snow Bowl” atmosphere of OSU/ MICH is even more than very, very , very rare indeed. Southern teams HAVE come north–to South Bend–AND in November. Playing SC is an annual occurence for ND–and the IRish too have played Texas in home and home series all without playing in state MAC teams even though the complaint section of the Dispatch to “Ray” has accused Notre Dame of playing Ball State. In fact we have played Western Michigan–just once. Moreover, when I read and hear that the Service Acadmies are “gimmes’ the last two times OSU has played Academy teams they have one loss to Air Force and one close win to a spirited Navy team which the Bucks barely came away with the win. Perhaps OSU would do their country well by playing THESE Noble teams to bolster themselves against triple options that the Acadamies can give headaches to the opponet–Notre Dame Includled. ( and as you found out -Ohio State too)
    The Buckeys has many BCS wins and you are to be congratulated for that. My post was not–nor will it EVER be OSU centered. The main post was–again–cyclice—the media frenzy to get a story–hoping for Manti and the best for him–cylicla things about teams waiting for titles and all things good happening to them—and OSU and MIch having to wait a long time for their turn at a crown. The reference to weak schedules is clear–eye of the beholder or not. I have read how OSU fans resent Florida playing W. Carolina! Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black? I never said they “always played nobody” Your BCS era accomplishments–inclduing a decisive win over the Irish are noted and worth remembering. That said, while the folks on High Street believe that ND is irrelevant, why is it that on the Gateway of the OSU campus that larger than life fades

  4. Buckeye–your insight is interesting. My main reference in this post was about Teo and how the media will lick their chops, attack and get their own story for only so long. My heart goes out to him and to anyone who has been placed on a pedestal only to be shot down and shot more when they are wounded. He didn’tc commit a crime, he didn’t do crack, sell things for profit and break these NCAA rules–which should be all to familiar to you. He did get sucked in to a situation which is sad, pathetic and as I stated before —the bitter side of a naive portion of his life. I pray he gets counseling and looks forward to a prosperous and healthy life.
    My reference to OSU ( and others) was that things don’t last forever. Things do go in cylces. The individual above our “dialogue” was names Hurls. He said ND Last championship 1988??? Dont worry be happy. My reference to THAT in context was I do not believe that will be the LAST title given to ND because of all things cyclical. The SEC can’t win forever and some teams had to wait a LONG time for a national title including perennial powers such as your Buckeyes and Michigan. THAt was my refrence.
    As for the reference to the schedule I was not quite clear, was I? Poor writing indeed on my part. What I MEANT Buckeye was that OSU , MIchigan and others have soft non conference games which serve only to bolster the halfway point to bowl eligibility with 3 wins in the Septmeber home games at Noon which are basic snooze fests with the likes of Akron, Kent and next year opening with Buffalo.( My brother in law bleeds scarlet and gray and stated that he would not walk across the street for free to see his Buckeyes given where things are right now. These are his words not mine.)
    To be sure, OSU did play Texas and USC –and NOtre Dame and Boston College and Miami and ???? all the in state teams time and time again. The games against ND were slaughters for the Buckeyes. The games with Texas and USC were rare–good games to be sure. The Big Ten has been less than impressive and all who truly analyze football can see that. NOt to be defensive whatsoever, if OSU had a National Scheudle they may find it difficult to play well outside of the midwest most of the time. While the Dispatch and the Boards of fans complain about the Soutern teams not coming north to play the Big ten in “cold Novembers” one must remember that it is very, very rare that the ” Snow Bowl” atmosphere of OSU/ MICH is even more than very, very , very rare indeed. Southern teams HAVE come north–to South Bend–AND in November. Playing SC is an annual occurence for ND–and the IRish too have played Texas in home and home series all without playing in state MAC teams even though the complaint section of the Dispatch to “Ray” has accused Notre Dame of playing Ball State. In fact we have played Western Michigan–just once. Moreover, when I read and hear that the Service Acadmies are “gimmes’ the last two times OSU has played Academy teams they have one loss to Air Force and one close win to a spirited Navy team which the Bucks barely came away with the win. Perhaps OSU would do their country well by playing THESE Noble teams to bolster themselves against triple options that the Acadamies can give headaches to the opponet–Notre Dame Includled. ( and as you found out -Ohio State too)
    The Buckeys has many BCS wins and you are to be congratulated for that. My post was not–nor will it EVER be OSU centered. The main post was–again–cyclice—the media frenzy to get a story–hoping for Manti and the best for him–cylicla things about teams waiting for titles and all things good happening to them—and OSU and MIch having to wait a long time for their turn at a crown. The reference to weak scheudles has been stated but not well in the previous post. Abundantly clear–the Big ten is weak , has been

  5. A popular song in 1988-89, for ND’s last NatChamp?
    Bobby McFerrin.
    “Don’t worry, be happy.”
    (ooooo – oooo – oooo- oooo – oooo -oo – oo – ooooo – oooooo)
    Victim Manti’s saga is tragically ridiculous.
    Indecency is no laughing matter.

    • Hurls–there is VERY LITTLE to laugh about these days when I see the “news.” The left wing liberal media they say is controlled by certain groups. ( I don’t buy it–I think it’s certain individuals whose only claim to fame will be a certain story until THEIR demise is met head on with their own fall from grace and so called truth) —
      We have QUIT the news in our house. We know what is going on to a certain extent but don’t need the weight of the bad things in DETAIL in our psyche–people die from such things. The wife and I know about Middle East, Washington, N/S Korea and all that and general things but malice and envy and the reporters rubbing their hands just to see who they can crucify next is not on our agenda. We pray for Manti. He is better than this. Incenceny is no laughing matter, indeed. There are fewer things less decent than the media and their self centered demonic frenzy. BTW, 1988 will not be the last Championship for Notre Dame. I will lay my salary on it. SEC can’t win forever, USC has cheated only so much and the Big 10 whimpy and soft schedules like OSU will only continue to catch up with them. Things go in cycles-Mich had to wait practically 50 years for their ONE title OSwho had to wait for their title since 68 when they won in 02 ( 70) if you believe certain polls at that time–with OSwho and MEECH not being the only games in town anymore, they are challenged except when the big 10 ( 12) is pathetic as it has been. Florida powers will impress and South Car. will do something–mark my words–and I say good for them. Anybody but the ghetto of miami canes. No SEC streak can’t go on forever—and Les Miles can only talk so long ( wonder whne the medai will go after him and others like him who lack the grace and etiquette on post game conferences) well—good night–stay away from general news—-it is best–and yes Hurls
      Indeceny is no laughing matter, is it Lane Kiffin? Is it Ohio State? Is it Penn State? Is it Miami with your multiple sins still looming? Is it Cam Newton? Indecency–you can see the pictures of the above next to the defintion of the word in the dictionary———–
      yep don’t worry be happy——

      • I think you have mischaracterized the Buckeye’s schedule strength. The last couple of years, yes it has been less than stellar but Michigan’s mediocrity looks to be ending and who knew when they were put on the schedule that Miami would still be floundering.

        OSU had home-and-home games with Texas and USC when both programs were on top. Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and now Nebraska are not gimme’s for anybody.

        To me strength of schedule is in the eyes of the beholder and for two teams that don’t play each other, like OSU and ND, it can offer the only grounds for debate but it is an inexact science at best.

        Again, the Buckeyes schedule has been weak recently but it’s not something we enjoy and it’s unfair to paint them as always playing nobody. After all in the BCS era they are first in BCS bowl appearances and tied with USC for most BCS bowl wins.

      • Buckeye,

        To you arguement on strength of schedule, all you can do is schedule teams that are traditional powers. If they are horrible that year there is nothing you can do.

        If you are in a conference you need to make at least 50% of your games tough games. Now if you look at OSU’s out of conference schedule the past years even if they play a Texas or USC it is only one of the four games. They need to schedule a top tier team and a middle of the road from a BCS conference, not Ohio or other MAC schools. The Big Ten Schools love playing MAC teams in the beginning of the year. The month of September is littered with meaningless games and if we are not having a playoff than I want to see more games between the big conferences. Two cupcakes and the rest are of a BCS conference nature. The only team ND plays that is a MAC type team is Navy and that is a game they will never give up.

      • Actually, we play Navy, AFA, and Temple next year so lets not get carried away.

      • Look at next years schedule. They Play a stretch of UM, Purdue, MSU, OU, ASU, USC and end the year at Standford. If you look at my arguement I said two cup cakes is fine and playing one top notch program and one middle of the road program from a BCS conference. There are only three teams on their schedule from non-BCS conferences AF, Navy and BYU and BYU is an independent.

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