Notre Dame | Sports

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

Manti

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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Comments

  1. I certainly made sure my fictictious girlfriend was an ocean away so she could write me a dear john letter but boners in a communal shower gave me away.

    Posted by: DC Arnold | Jan 18, 2013 3:23:27 AM


  2. If he did lie, why are people making him out to be gay? So homophobic our society is.

    If a man is not interested in a women- ANY WOMEN- he is called...gay.

    If a man has attitude or doesn't always act laid back..he's called gay.

    If a man lies an epic lie like this about a fake girlfriend with cancer....he must be gay.

    Notice a pattern here? Anytime a man isn't doing teh right thing, he must be "one of them gays"

    Sad that even gay people don't have the perceptive capablity to see the correlation between negative action always being associated to a gay man.

    Posted by: JordanJacklson | Jan 18, 2013 3:58:03 AM


  3. Yikes, totally got a samoanesque Michael Jackson vibe from that clip.

    A giant, chartreuse sequin-covered tote bag fell out of his mouth on word one.

    Get me a tissue, Tito.

    Posted by: johnny | Jan 18, 2013 6:00:49 AM


  4. wow. he's definitely mad-hot--and, according to my gaydar, definitely one of us.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | Jan 18, 2013 6:23:40 AM


  5. In my college days....I too....when pressed....would say I was kissing girls....and said I went out on dates....
    But I knew I liked boys.

    This is just the 2013 version of what I did....he used the internet as his foil.

    Posted by: HereinDC | Jan 18, 2013 9:11:36 AM


  6. nothing hot about a bat sh-t crazy thug who would fabricate such a lie. but because he's "hetero" everyone on here loves him. sad bunch

    Posted by: Duration & Convexity | Jan 18, 2013 9:30:28 AM


  7. If he was duped, it doesn't say much for the critical thinking skills Notre Dame is supposed to be teaching in the first 2 years of university. Maybe he was allowed to skip these classes?

    Posted by: djcchicago | Jan 18, 2013 10:13:02 AM


  8. Homophobia makes some gay men do bizarre things in an effort to hide their sexual orientation. Mormon + Notre Dame? Sounds plausible that a guy from that conservative of a background would create a fake girlfriend in an attempt to be seen as acceptably heterosexual.

    Posted by: Anti_Intellect (@Anti_Intellect) | Jan 18, 2013 12:54:46 PM


  9. Whatever is going on I hope this guy works things out.
    If all of this turns out to be just cover, then think of the turmoil and deep insecurity he must have been going through.

    It just shows the pervasive stigma and crushing power of homophobia.
    He needs to know "it gets better".......if he is gay.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jan 18, 2013 2:59:12 PM


  10. This whole thing seems to have grown out of epic proportions. Sounds more political in regards to the Heisman Trophy, if anything. Not convinced he's gay. More like taken for a ride. If he is indeed 'family'. More power to him. But, hey, at least now we all know who he is. Now I can't wait till this all dies down.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Jan 19, 2013 12:57:44 PM


  11. Come out, come out wherever you are.
    Ok girls- out of your closets.

    Posted by: Frank C. | Jan 22, 2013 9:32:28 PM


  12. Occam's razor. Nuf said.

    Posted by: dgelman | Jan 25, 2013 5:42:19 PM


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