Notre Dame | Sports

Gay Rumor Mill Ramping Up Over Manti Te'o 'Dead Girlfriend' Hoax


Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o won the nation's heart when the "girlfriend" he claimed to have met online died of leukemia. But it was revealed yesterday that said girlfriend never existed and it was all, Te'o claimed, an embarrassing hoax and he fell for it. But then inconsistencies began to appear in his story.

For example, there's the fact that claimed to have met the young woman, "Lennay Kekua," in person in 2009. Even Te'o's father said they had met. "Every once in a while, she would travel to Hawaii, and that happened to be the time Manti was home, so he would meet with her there," he said.

But Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said last night Te'o never met her. Swarbrick said it seemed a "group of people" perpetuated this hoax for cruel kicks, and that Te'o was not involved.

But an investigation by the site Deadspin leads to one person in particular, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a former football player who is now a gospel musician who has at the very least met Te'o.

From Deadspin's report:

Te'o and Tuiasosopo definitely know each other. In May 2012, Te'o was retweeting Tuiasosopo, who had mentioned going to Hawaii. Wrote Te'o, "sole"—"bro," in Samoan—"u gotta come down." In June, Te'o wished Tuiasosopo a happy birthday. How they know each other isn't clear.

We spoke to a woman we'll call Frieda, who had suggested on Twitter back in December that there was something fishy about Lennay Kekua. She was Facebook friends with Titus Tuiasosopo, so we asked her if she knew anything about Ronaiah.

"Manti and Ronaiah are family," she said, "or at least family friends." She told us that the Tuiasosopos had been on-field guests (of Te'o or someone else, she didn't know) for the Nov. 24 Notre Dame-USC game in Los Angeles. USC was unable to confirm this, but a tweet from Tuiasosopo's since-deleted account suggests he and Te'o did see each other on that West Coast trip. "Great night with my bro @MTeo_5! #Heisman #574L," Ronaiah tweeted on Nov. 23, the night before the game.

A source also said that Ronaiah may have tried the same trick on someone else before Te'o; Te'o just fell for it. That may be the case, but it's not hard to at least pause at rumors that this was all a big cover up for Te'o being gay.

"...Not since Troy Aikman have I been bombarded on email, text, Twitter and phone calls about the sexual orientation of any athlete the way I was today about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o," writes Cyd Zeigler Jr at OutSports.

If the gay rumors turn out to be true, then perhaps the nation would see how far some people, particularly religious people and athletes, are willing to go because they still fear an unloving world. Opposing Views described such a hypothetical scenario as "the saddest way imaginable" to cover up one's sexuality.

If the gay rumors are not true, and this was just a huge, huge misunderstanding, then maybe this becomes a conversation not about the closet but about the ratio of sports versus academic funding at big schools like Notre Dame.

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  1. No beard like a dead beard? Seems like long way to go.

    He sounds like just about every other high profile jock who has been coached in public speaking -- not really 'gay'.

    In speculating on Te'o's sexual orientation it is important to correct for the fact that a football player is every American gay man's wildest dream! Since we want him to be gay even the slimmest possibility becomes proof.

    Posted by: peter | Jan 17, 2013 3:29:38 PM

  2. Perhaps Te'o should go to the ESPN Awards and make a speech, like "I have something to announce... I'm single. Just kidding."

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Jan 17, 2013 3:31:42 PM

  3. Very poorly written article... too confusing, not using names but writing "he" "she" "they" makes it hard to follow...

    Posted by: yoyo | Jan 17, 2013 3:33:08 PM

  4. Good point on the pushing in Kiwi!

    Posted by: Fensox | Jan 17, 2013 3:34:17 PM

  5. @REDBALL My gaydar is 99.9% correct. This is what we know/have thus far:

    - video that pings my gaydar
    - fake dead girlfriend
    - allegedly talked to fake girlfriend (before she "died" every night and every morning
    - Mormon at a Catholic school
    - "macho" footballer
    - graphic arts major
    - good male friend who was prolly pretending to be his girlfriend
    Sum it all up and we have: GAY!

    We need to have Anderson Cooper interview him. There's no way he could resist telling the Silver Fox the truth. Oprah? No way. No one will admit they're gay to her. She's a Big Beard.

    Posted by: Gigi | Jan 17, 2013 3:35:13 PM

  6. and I was JUST saying that gay porn needed some new blood....

    Posted by: Curly | Jan 17, 2013 3:38:56 PM

  7. Very good Bobby Joe.

    And an enormous hat-tip to Dan Savage for referring to THIS

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 17, 2013 3:51:37 PM

  8. I love big wieners in my butt and in my mouth.

    Posted by: Manti Te'o | Jan 17, 2013 3:54:55 PM

  9. I'm not ready to rule out that he was the victim of a hoax, because, as a lifelong Mormon, he's certainly no stranger to hoaxes.

    Posted by: b | Jan 17, 2013 3:55:12 PM

  10. Oh, Lord, where to begin:

    "In speculating on Te'o's sexual orientation it is important to correct for the fact that a football player is every American gay man's wildest dream! Since we want him to be gay even the slimmest possibility becomes proof"

    This. I don't see the slightest scintilla of evidence that Teo is gay. He might be, but I don't see any evidence of it. The "story" here seems to revolve around whether he made up this "tragic" story to gain the sympathy of Heisman voters, not to try to cover up his sexual orientation. It is all way too elaborate for the latter, it seems to me--it is not as though anyone was actively trying to "out" him, after all.

    "Gigi...ahahahahaha...I saw a pair of ruby red slippers fall out of his mouth as soon as he opened it!"

    Behavior like this is precisely why gay athletes do not want to come out of the closet--they do not want to associate with a bunch of effeminate clowns who want to drag them down to their pathetic level

    And as for the "soft voice", that is likely a reflection of Samoan culture--if you have ever heard Troy Palomalu talk, he sounds the same way....but he is not gay and he is a beast on the football field. More of a Samoan thing, most likely, than a gay thing

    "Frankly, I think he is more asexual, if anything. shy and timid but needing to put up a big front in the locker room."

    And this assessment is based on what, praytell. Do you know the guy? What basis do you have to judge?

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 17, 2013 4:08:26 PM

  11. By the way, I've been dealing with hideous thick discharge from my anus lately. I notice it most when I have my midday wipe. Does anyone have any suggestions for toilet paper that is softer on pustulant leaking anuses? Mine's awful sore.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 17, 2013 4:11:48 PM

  12. "What in the hell did Saomans see in Mormonism? They're so beautiful (thick and juicy). Every nationality of men I think are sexy have been f.cked up by some religion."

    Come on, Derrick, admit it--your type is a blonde, blue-eyed guy like Leonardo Dicaprio's character in "Django Unchained", ideally with a whip in his hand. (LOL)

    If you haven't seen "Django" yet, it is definitely your kind of film, trust me.....EVERY fantasy of yours on display on the big screen.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 17, 2013 4:13:35 PM

  13. Graphic arts major at Notre Dame = gay. Just like all the music majors at Boston College are gay.

    Posted by: Sam | Jan 17, 2013 4:14:16 PM

  14. And I say that as one who masturbates with two furiously sweaty fingers to memories of eating my own grandfather's anus.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 17, 2013 4:14:46 PM

  15. Isn't Esera Tuaolo (the former Minnesota Viking who came out after his career with the NFL) of Samoan descent?

    Posted by: Ike | Jan 17, 2013 4:34:16 PM

  16. "Isn't Esera Tuaolo (the former Minnesota Viking who came out after his career with the NFL) of Samoan descent?"

    Yes, he is.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 17, 2013 4:37:25 PM

  17. Rick,

    I estimate I've been with between 250 to 300 men in my life (fear of the virus stopped all that whorin' in the 1980s). Out of all those penises only two and a half were White. (The half one I swore was Puerto Rican until we walked out of the bushes into the lights of the
    Ben Franklin Parkway). And the other two guys were ok--after about a half a bottle of bourbon.

    But I have nothing against integrationists-- you get love where you can find it, and hopefully good sex too.

    And, Rick, you know those blue-eyed blonds aint for me. They're just are too caught up in that "Culture of Effeminacy" you're always moanin' about. I like my men right off the cell block into my imagination and that's just where they'll stay.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 17, 2013 4:38:13 PM

  18. I thought Somoans were Girl Scout cookies.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Jan 17, 2013 4:47:04 PM

  19. This story is all kinds of confusing and crazy. I happen to be a fan of Manti's, and no matter which way the truth cuts, it's just bad for him and his fans. Either he is a gigantic liar, or he is the victim of a very elaborate fraud. If it's the latter, my heart would really break for him.

    As for the motivation...I guess it could be a complicated scheme to cover his sexuality. But isn't it a lot more likely that -- if he participated in the deception -- the aim was to garner him sympathetic Heisman votes?

    Posted by: Lars | Jan 17, 2013 4:49:26 PM

  20. I'd be more interested if these rumors were swirling around a HOT football player like Brady Quinn, Mark Sanchez or Reggie Bush.

    Posted by: Jase | Jan 17, 2013 4:58:37 PM

  21. Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 17, 2013 5:00:48 PM

  22. Also: The Daily Beast has a fairly good wrap-up, with three possible explanations of the bizarre story:

    I find the last one, that Te'o was first being pranked and then went along with it in order to save face, believable. Regardless, there doesn't seem to be much evidence that he is gay.

    Posted by: Lars | Jan 17, 2013 5:00:54 PM

  23. Can I get a flow chart or a very carefully crafted explanation with everything including play-doh? This bizarre episode is so confusing and messy? What the hell happened exactly and what exactly where that "prank" came from and what motivation? Yikes!

    Posted by: Betocreativo | Jan 17, 2013 5:07:35 PM

  24. I think he and Tim Tebow will make a really cute couple.

    Posted by: dego | Jan 17, 2013 5:13:03 PM

  25. "I thought Somoans were Girl Scout cookies."

    I'm sorry, Frau Beaverhausen. I don't know how to use spell check when I'm already in the process of trying to post a comment.

    My performance on this thread will torment me forever.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 17, 2013 5:14:51 PM

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