Notre Dame Hub
Notre Dame University has released a powerful and inspiring video profiling Matt Dooley, a tennis player who came out of the closet to his coaches and teammates several weeks ago.
In the clip (which is accompanied by an article), Dooley speaks about the struggles he faced being in the closet and also some emotional interviews with his teammate Greg Andrews and head coach about what it means to them to share the experience of his coming out.
Says Dooley: "I started to realize obviously that a lot of it was a problem with me. That I wasn't allowing myself to be successful, and to accept myself, and accept the trust and love of my parents."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
The lawyer for Rohaiah Tuiasosopo, the man behind the alleged hoax targeting Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, says it was Tuiasosopo's voice on the other end of phone calls and in voice mails with the football player, and that his client disguised his voice in order to develop "a relationship" with Te'o.
The NY Daily News reports:
Grimes insisted that former high school football star Tuiasosopo, 22, wasn’t trying to hurt or humiliate Te’o.
“This wasn’t a prank to make fun,” Grimes told The News. “It was establishing a communication with someone. ... It was a person with a troubled existence trying to reach out and communicate and have a relationship.”
Grimes declined to answer when asked to elaborate on his client’s intentions or what type of relationship he wanted with the college football star: “I wouldn’t describe his issues at this time.”
Te'o has said he thought he was speaking to a woman.
The NYDN adds: "Tuiasosopo’s résumé includes vocal and dramatic training. He was president of his high school drama club, performs with a Christian band and auditioned last year for the TV talent show 'The Voice.'"
Voice mails from 'Lennay Kekua', the woman Tuiasosopo claims to have spoken as, were played in Katie Couric's interview today, during which Couric asked Te'o point-blank if he had lied to cover his sexual orientation.
In the first clip released from his forthcoming interview with Katie Couric, Notre Dame quarterback Manti Te'o admits to lying briefly after discovering that he had been hoaxed.
"Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12. Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she's alive and then I'm going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?"
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Do you believe Te'o?
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.
For the first time, Notre Dame says it will officially recognize a student organization providing services and support to LGBT students and allies, The Observer reports:
Though this is a historic decision in Notre Dame’s efforts to better serve a diverse student body, University President Fr. John Jenkins said the plan for the unnamed student organization is a natural progression of previous initiatives. “In the 1990s, as I said, we created the Standing Committee [on Gay and Lesbian Student Needs]. In 2006, that was changed to the Core Council [for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Questioning Students], and various initiatives were undertaken in conjunction with those efforts,” he said. “I see this as the next step to be more effective.”
The announcement was made after a five-month review process by Erin Hoffmann Harding, vice president for Student Affairs:
The plan, titled “Beloved Friends and Allies: A Pastoral Plan for the Support and Holistic Development of GLBTQ and Heterosexual Students at the University of Notre Dame,” details the establishment of a “new support and service student organization for GLBTQ students and their allies,” as well as a new advisory committee and the establishment of a full-time student development staff position focused on GLBTQ issues, according to a Dec. 5 University press release.
Harding said members of the Notre Dame community should consider more than the establishment of the student organization when evaluating the plan.
“The comprehensiveness of this not only being about the organization is a very important element to the entire thing because of the education, because of the awareness, because of the support and interaction with other University offices, we think this is a plan that we believe and hope will be much more than about one organization,” she said.
Harding explained the significance of the planned group’s intended status as a student organization rather than a club, a distinction she said is meant to ensure the continuity of the organization over time.