1. Nat says

    Wow, I guessed they literally used his high school picture–looks quite different now–like a teddy bear! Still, what a freaking weird story this is–and it seems to all point to Manti being gay.

    If I remember the story correctly, these two have hung out before–boyfriends maybe? Either that or this Tuiasosopo is a nut case, infatuated with and stalking Manti. I’ll take the former–I think this was simply a big cover up of one’s sexuality.

  2. Paul R says

    Trying to think of something that I could care about less than a college football player who is clearly messed up in some way or another.

    I guess that my imagination doesn’t reach that far. No, wait. I just don’t care.

  3. Gigi says

    I can’t believe I’m commenting on this but, here it goes…

    Pretty much what I suspected. Not 100% convinced that Manti didn’t know who was really on the other end of the line. That would explain why he never, ever tried to meet his “girlfriend” in person, even when she was in a coma in hospital. Couric couldn’t get her head around that on in their interview. She was like, “Really?”
    It’ll be interesting to see what else Dr. Phil gets out of the Ronaiah.

  4. Lars says

    I have about a dozen different reactions to this bizarre story, and each increasingly bizarre development. But I keep coming back to one thought: The Closet sucks. This kid Ronaiah has his own chapter in the DSM at this point…but I can’t help but look at him and feel pity — and wonder what his life would be like were it not for the closet.

  5. Stefan says

    Romantic? If you mean in the sense that it’s like the weird bastard child of Cyrano de Bergerac, Romeo and Juliet, and The Lake House, then yes. Super duper romantic. *eyeroll*

  6. Kim says

    I saw a video clip where this guy says Manti and Lennay broke up many times.I think this guy was abused and created another personality to deal with trauma.He admits that he pulled this hoax on other guys.He said Manti was not in on the hoax and that it was his voice not a female cousin.If Manti was in on it why does the guy still reference himself as Lennay in regard to relationship.BTW he is saying apsychiatrist because he knows he needs help in dealing with these issues.A little off topic but Ray Lewis of the Ravens say he was catfished I saw it on Access Hollywood.Is it possible Manti is gay too I guess but I dont think so only because there would be no reason to keep up the Lennay character between the two of them,no reason to use female voice all the time JMO

  7. Mike in nyc says

    It’s strange. Feels like they had an intense affair of some sort.
    There is a strong scent of the Closet on all this.

    I would like to see them both just verbatim repeat Jody Fosters loco non coming out speech to make this into a truly amazing performance art work.

  8. Why, Why, Manti? says

    This story never ends, does it? And it’s a very sad story at that. If Tuiasosopo fell in love with T’eo and created this Lennay character to get close to T’eo, that’s sad. And if Te’o is indeed gay but deep in the closet that’s sad too. I simply see no winners in this. And all this sorrow and sadness because of all the hate out there that pushes gay men into the closet. So many lives have been destroyed because of the way society has treated LGBT-youth through the ages.

    Really, the only somewhat ok thing that could happen now is if Te’o came out and admitted that all of this was just a cover up, and that the two of them have indeed been romantically involved. But I’m doubting more and more that it’ll ever happen. Really, it seems like another case of a sad, one-sided love affair. Just look at the way Tuiasosopo have changed since high school. All that unhappiness have caused him to gain weight.

  9. princely54 says

    @’Why, Why Manti?’, to say that the weight gain is proof of some sort of unhappiness based on this scenario is silly. I know most gay men see weight as a disease to be avoided at all costs, but people in that culture tend to be heavy no matter what else goes on in their lives. Chill out on the long distance psychobabble diagnosis, ok?

  10. Lou says

    The anti-gay Christians and psychotherapist say gays are confused and use that as psychological propaganda against the LGBT community to make them look bad. The truth is, if a person falls in love with another person they can do a lot of silly and foolish things, straight or gay. Straights can be just as confused as gays. Most people go through times of confusion, straight or gay, get over it and move on with your life.

  11. Francis says

    It’s a sad story. I don’t know what to believe regarding this Tuiasosopo guy, but what’s clear is he has some deep personal issues. Te’o’s been so guarded about everything and inconsistent that I think it’s clear he’s hiding secrets. If homophobia didn’t exist, stories like this would likely not happen in the first place.

    I think Te’o is gay because he could have put this story to bed and gotten out ahead of it, and he didn’t do so. And the fact he didn’t do so leads me to believe he has something to hide.

    It’s just very sad, and a real reflection of how destructive the closet is.

  12. Sam says

    The closet has always been a lonely, depressing place. That said, there are far too many holes in Manti’s story to say that he was in denial about who he was talking to.

  13. Bernie says

    As pissed off as I want to be, I have a sad feeling for this guy, but I still find it reprehensible that this guy carried on this crazy hoax for 4 years….I agree this is what the closet does

  14. Rod Roddy lookalike says

    Even if Manti T’eo is gay, with comments like that one player spit out, why would T’eo even want to come clean, now. Even with the 49ers club clear “damage control” statement later, there are still reasons to be cautious in the American football industry (NFL). I hope T’eo thinks before he goes any farther into this whole scenario. I wish him well. I don’t think this guy on Dr. Phil is being totally honest, and maybe even purposefully grandstanding by forcing T’eo out of the closet, even if it is the truth.

  15. Sam says

    @Why,Why Manti? Unhappy romantic fantasies = weight gain…Gimme a T.O. break, Jenny Craig! for years the dude was hungry for his beefy linebacker but ended up as an online foodie instead.

  16. DannyEastVillage says

    I don’t buy it–and i doubt if anybody at Notre Dame–esp T’eo’s teammates–do either. Meanwhile, poor Ronaiah. Poor both of them. Earlier versions of this story said they were very tight earlier on life. Also, Ronaiah became a gospel singer–trying, I guess, to sing away the gay.

    And, when all is said and done, they are (or were) both way too pretty for what’s presented here to be the story.

  17. AngelaChanning says

    Of all the quacks to talk to, he went with Dr. Phil. Oy gevalt. As others remarked, the closet combined with such an oppressive culture can be the basis for some unhealthy things. I realize this could happen in an open and gay friendly environment but wouldn’t it have been a lot nicer for Ronaiah to be able to ask Manti out on a date and he could accept or decline? If the latter, a little disappointment but not leading to some entangled web of deception and humiliation? I really hope this is the end of the public story, but I have a feeling it isn’t.

  18. Mitch says

    Leave it to Dr. Phil to further exploit something that has already been over exploited. Without a doubt, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo needs help – just not in the public eye.

  19. Jase says

    Wow he looks SO different now. Am I the only one who thought he looked HOT in all those pics when he was thinner? Back then he was way more attractive than Manti IMO.

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