An important pillar of Manti Te'o's story with regards to the hoax of the century is that he found out Lennay Kekua wasn't dead during ESPN's Home Depot College Football Awards show in Orlando. Here's the quote from Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick's press conference Wednesday night that alludes to when Te'o first found out what was happening.
"On the morning of December 26th, very early morning, Manti called his coaches to inform them that, while he was in attendance at the ESPN awards show in Orlando, he received a phone call from a number he recognized as having been that he associated with Lennay Kekua. When he answered it, it was a person whose voice sounded like the same voice he had talked to, who told him that she was, in fact, not dead.
Manti was very unnerved by that, as you might imagine. I will let him again talk about that and his reaction to it. But he maintained that secret vis a vis the members of the football family until he called the coaches on the morning of the 26th. They promptly reached out to me to inform me of this shocking piece of news, and I arranged to meet Manti upon his return to campus and did so on the afternoon of the 27th."
That awards show in Orlando took place December 6th. Two days later, Te'o was in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation, also televised on ESPN December 8th. That night, Te'o was interviewed on stage during the hour long show by Chris Fowler. In a transcript from that Heisman interview, it reveals Te'o voluntarily talking about his girlfriend passing away after he supposedly found out about the hoax. In fact, he told Chris Fowler the moment he found out about his girlfriend's passing was the one moment he would never forget during the season.
Chris Fowler: There were a lot of cameras around you this year, there was so much public sharing of very private moments, which shared moment will you never forget above the others?
Manti Te'o: I think I’ll never forget the time when I found out that, you know, my girlfriend passed away and the first person to run to my aid was my defensive coordinator, Coach [Bob] Diaco, and you know he said something very profound to me, he said ‘this is where your faith is tested.’ Right after that, I ran into the players’ lounge and I got on the phone with my parents – and I opened my eyes and my head coach was sitting right there. And so, you know, there are a hundred-plus people on our team and the defensive coordinator and our head coach took time to just go get one [of those players]. You know I think that was the most meaningful to me.
The transcript shows Te'o willing to forward the story of his girlfriend's passing to a national television audience after he apparently discovered it wasn't true. There's other evidence of Te'o answering reporters' questions about his girlfriend's death, but in generalities. This quote from the Heisman ceremony is the first time I've seen Te'o addressing Lennay Kekua's death specifically after December 6th. Additionally, Te'o wasn't even asked directly about Kekua, he volunteered the story to Fowler.
If Te'o was indeed called December 6th and informed of the hoax, if he was speaking with the person he believed to be Lennay Kekua for a period of time between December 6th and December 26th as has been forwarded by Notre Dame, why would he go on television December 8th and voluntarily talk about how emotional it was finding out about his girlfriend's death? Why would that moment above all others remain profound to him? Why share such personal details about what must have been the most confusing thing that had ever happened to him if he had been informed it may have been a hoax just two days earlier?
Swarbrick says Te'o was "unnerved" by the phone call on December 6th. And yet, he was still drawing attention to the story of Lennay Kekua on the night of the Heisman Trophy presentation, December 8th, in a live interview on ESPN. Something does not add up. It's just another inconsistency that must be addressed as the details of this hoax continue to unravel.
UPDATE: We now have a second instance of Te'o speaking about his girlfriend's passing after supposedly finding out it was a hoax. WSBT in South Bend has video of Manti Te'o referencing his girlfriend's passing on December 8th before the Heisman Trophy ceremony, the same day he talked about the emotion of his loss to Chris Fowler on ESPN:
"I don't like cancer at all. I lost both my grandparents and my girlfriend to cancer."
Why would Manti Te'o repeatedly talk about losing his girlfriend after finding out it wasn't true?
Te'o has explained his reasons for continuing to talk about her after he had found out the truth. It was obviously a mistake on his part. He didn't want to look like a fool, and he didn't want this whole debacle to affect the team before the championship game. Those are reasonable explanations. A more mature person would have realized it was all going to come out anyway and might not have acted as he did. I believe the main point he was trying to make in that first example was not his emotions on learning of the death, but how much he appreciated the reactions of his defensive coordinator and head coach. I don't know the facts and neither does anyone else, but I'm willing to listen and wait until all the information has come to light. It's easy enough to prove whether or not all those phone calls took place. If Notre Dame had an independent investigation, I don't know why they could not pretty quickly discover the truth. If THEY are lying, that's even more serious than the hoax. I guess time will tell. The truth will eventually come out.
she was in a coma he was done with school and didnt go visit his one and only in the hospital, ON THE WAY mind you.....lol another coverup but better than Petrino worse than Lance.
Espn didnt post the transcript but their version, they are covering this up more than anyone, they are a joke as a real news source.
You sound like a "truther". ESPN from the grass knoll.
At this point, the only story here is how no one believes the poor guy. He was just dumb.... not sinister.
This is why people really don't come forward after getting con-ed. Indeed, given the reaction of people... I am not surprised he didn't come forward until after the story broke. No one is that much of a glutton for punishment.
@LarryTillman Yes I look for the truth....sometimes that means using your brain and not what some "reporters" tell you which don't support the facts. I did not believe Lance A because the EVIDENCE supported a different version, if you can not piece things together for yourself - that is why they put out this bs, for you.
@Josh Darius What is the point of the conspiracy? What is the agenda?
To help Manti?
Read the transcript. It makes him sound like a fool. And seriously... he has lost almost all the respect he got in the season.
To help ESPNs credibility?
Their credibility has already taken a serious blow for not noticing the issue sooner. I can't see a good motive here. Indeed, they are probably doing their best to fact check everything now.
I just don't see a point to a conspiracy here. Besides they posted the evidence in the article. There is the apology from the twitterfeed.
Read the transcript... its posted on ESPN
"I don't know. She kept bringing that up. So on Dec. 21st, we haven't talked, because I told her, "Hey, she died. I'm not believing anything until I see it." On Dec. 21st, she text me. She's like, "You want proof, here's the proof." She sends me the picture."
Looks like he didn't believe the December 6th call.
He says... "I'm thinking a lot of things; OK. So this could be a prank. She died, and all these guys are trying to pull a prank on me, or is she still alive? What is going on? What's going on?"
If there was indeed a funeral and it was his "girlfriend", why not send something to show his respect like flowers? If she had passed away, why wouldn't he ask to read her obituary to see how she was remembered by her family?
What a hoax. Te'o is a big phony, and both ESPN and Notre Dame are bigger fraud for promoting his lies.
@JS Another uninformed idiot that cant wait to hate on somebody successful. Do you feel better now JS ? You are so insecure because you have your head up your ass. Come out for a breath and read or investigate or listen first. You make it sound like you know what you're talking about when you have no clue!
@JS He did send flowers. White roses. He didn't attend the funeral because "she" made him promise to stay with his team. If Manti asked about an obituary, guess who he would have asked - he would have asked her "brother" who undoubtedly would have had an answer for that too (we decided not to do an obituary, respect for family's privacy, yada yada yada). Congratulations to you Captain Obvious for asking the same obvious questions that any low rent con man would be prepared to answer. They're professional (or at least semi-professional) con men so give them credit for covering at least the most basic tracks.
Try and catch up before jumping to conclusions.
Manti had an imaginary girlfriend that died. How's your imaginary girlfriend doing? I am sorry for his loss. Mine comes and goes. On another note, I get fraudulent emails daily. They all want the imaginary money. I had some stuff for sale on Craigs list. One response told me to send her My complete in info including bank info sight unseen, so i did. They are welcome to the high debt I am in as well.
@livefreer Very funny. But if you follow the story the "imaginary girlfriend" label is misleading. It's more accurate to say his girlfriend was not really who she claimed to be. Because apparently he really did talk to a girl on the phone, and that girl talked to his friends sometimes too. He also talked to Tuiasosopo's 9 year old sister who was portrayed to be the girlfriend's cousin. It was very involved and the perpetrator "groomed" him to gain his trust in the same way that pedophiles do. Money was probably an ultimate motive but it wasn't like "she" asked for money the very first time they chatted as if it's one of those Nigerian emails. Manti was more like Rachel McAdams character in Wedding Crashers when she really thought Owen Wilson's character was an investment banker.
@cygnus You are 100% right ! Its all kinds of different stories now. People dont understand there was nothing "imaginary" about anything. They're just to giddy , jumping up and down spewing their vile and hate. Facts are not an option to haters.
Does it matter? Manti will not come out and say he is Gay, its against Catholic ways. I'm not saying he is or isn't. Just saying, he wont. He also will not come out b/c that will hurt his draft stock. Hate to say it, but teams wont draft him if he comes out b/c some players wont be in the locker room with him, and a lot fans won't support the team anymore. Its a sick world, but from a PR stand point, thats what Manti is facing (IF HE IS GAY). If he isn't, then this is weird.... and should be a personal thing, not a press thing. Plenty of people get scammed everyday online. Watch CATFISH for real, you will see. Happens to thousands.
I Am Having A Hard Time With This And All The Media Attention Over It !! So Manti Lied About Having A GirlFriend And Her Death .. Big Deal Get Over It ! He May Have Gotten Some Press But He Did Not Rip Off Anyone As Some Might Have !!
@MichaelMichaels he did it for publicity, which made him a story and ultimately increased his draft stock. ask the kids that he would have jumped ahead of if the story was never revealed. ask them if they wouldn't have felt "ripped-off" (as you say.
If I'm a NFL team GM, I dont draft a linebacker because he was popular in college. Nope I draft because he can knock the living crap out of a running back. Teo meets that trait.
Why exactly is this such a media-consuming issue?? I mean, he didn't set up the Lennay Kekua Memorial Cancer Fund and take fraudulent donations; the lie didn't help him win the Heisman or beat Alabama for the national title. At most, it got him some undeserved sympathetic attention. I admit his behavior in this matter (whether duped or a willing participant) is spooky weird, but not illegal. I predict that the NFL won't care.
Because Norte Dame called a press conference and declared Manti to be an innocent Victim, that's why. Now Norte Dame is complicit. Why is it important to Norte Dame for people to be told lies about a *former* football player? I think we all know.
He is done at ND. ND would not back Teo and tarnish the Dome unless they were absolutely sure that he was on the right side of this issue. There is no reason to defend him IF he was part of the hoax. ND has everything to lose by covering up for him. I mean there were no laws broken, no NCAA violations etc.... IMO Teo is a naive young man when it comes to women and that characteristic was taken advantage of. Just because you can lead a football team and play they way he does, does not mean your savy to the world outside of the classroom and gridiron. Press is attacking him because they failed to do their job as jounalist and fact check (ESPN being the worst) and have been exposed for their high school journalism. And there is the old saying "for every ND fan, there are 10 ND haters".
Is it any wonder why the guy would have continued to refer to the girl that he realized didn't exisit, rather than admit publically he was duped? Just LOOK at what the Sports media, Leno, Letterman, Stewart, & Colbert (for starters) have done to this guy since it WAS made public! People pretending to be availble singles (GI's especially and otherwise) on dating sites is not new. Forgeiners have been scaming women for years, pretending to be Mr. Perfect. 20/20 did an investaigation back in 2011 on "Internet dating scams"--look for it online. What is NEW is that a male was suckered this time andyou have made him the poster child, faiing to have any compassion for his embarassing circumstances. It is not unbeleivable that a young man going to Notre Dame, who might very well have higher morals than most college football payers, had never "done it" with his "Girlfriend" for the past 3 years....he might have also been more trusting and gullible than most, being a shy guy who has to worry about folks' motives. This s NOT too hard to beleive if you just looked at the circumstances from that perspective instead f laughing at him! He has suffered enough. You can't tell me if he'd have told everyone he was a victim of a hoax for 3 years BEFORE you dug it up that his fate in the media would have been ANY different. The oys club of the popular sports reporters would STILL have ade fun of him. You reporters are JUST compounding the problem by BULLYING him over this. Thank your lucky stars you didn't "Think" you had found someone online, only to have them turn out to be some scammer in Indonesia or South America who was pretending to be the person in the pictures on the profile. If this was done by an acquantence of him to him, be grateful your "friends" aren't as cruel! By humiliating him, you are not making yourelves COOLER. Give the guy a break, he is THE laughing stock now and you have all gotten enough of his flesh!
@LIVE from Baltimore He brought her up unprompted. He was asked about the most memorable moment of the season. He had other answers possible besides a fake girlfriend dying. Bringing her up unprompted is a whole lot different than not wanting to reveal the truth about a fake internet romance.
@LIVE from Baltimore dude, did you view the tape. yes, i agree that even if he had just found out that he'd been duped two days earlier he might have not wanted to admit it right there and then...... but he went out of his way to mention "her". look and listen to the South Bend Trib tape. If he were innocent, "Lennay" would be the last think I would want to talk about. but HE brought her up. he wasn't answering a direct question about her.
@nd luva @LIVE from Baltimore The hell he wasn't asked about her. It was the same question he'd been asked 100 times before, something along the lines of "dealing with tragedy". He just answered the question the same way as he did the other 99 times. Why? Could be a number of reasons. Could have thought the "I'm not dead" phone call he got 2 days earlier was the hoax. Or the most likely reason in my mind is that being duped that way was humiliating and he intended to avoid or at least delay the humiliating media firestorm. Maybe he thought let's just get through the next 4 weeks and then the season will be over, I'll have graduated, and maybe it all just fades away. Had he said the most challenging part of the season was the death of his grandma (without mentioning Lennay) that would have been a huge red flag that something was amiss and he clearly wasn't ready to divulge that.
Bottom line, the theory that he was a conspirator and not a victim is ignorant, especially if you see the all the reports that came out in the last 18 hours.
We didn't humiliate him. He humiliated himself. He should have never thought himself a smart man... certainly not smart enough to lie to America's face and get by with it. To whine about it now pretty much says we won't have to bother seeing him in NFL highlights.
Man, this is the NFL. You think Teo is not going in the first round because of this or not get drafted? Where you born last night? That league is full of a lot worse than some kid that might have been involved some Catfish scam. I have not heard a single GM or analyst (that has coaching experiance in the NFL) say Teo will not go in the first round or not get drafted because of this situation.
Sorry, Baltimore. Your explanation that he was just trying to save face would make sense if he just didn't say anything about his girlfriend at all, but when Fowler asked him about his most memorable moment - he outright lied.
The problem with any news related to Notre Dame and especially its football program, is the sports media handles it just like the national media handles Democratic news - it is annointed, it is gospel and draws a pass from being checked for facts. If you look at the facts, everything about this Te'o mess is bogus.
@Turner Jones Yeah, let's pretend that the media, which gave the Bush Regime a complete pass when they claimed they were 100% sure Iraq had WMDs, even as UN Weapons Inspectors couldn't find any at HUNDREDS of potential sites given to them by the US spy agencies.
@Turner Jones That is "media has a bias against Republicans" when in fact they gave the Bush Regime a free pass over their pack of lies.
Didn't Notre Dame investigate after Te'o brought the Dec. 6th phone call to their attention. He may have been unnerved by the all, but not yet have known that he was the victim of a hoax, or how deep the hoax went. He may have still believed his girlfriend had dieds and thought someone was messing with him afterwards. Still doesn't explain everything else. Internet girlfriend for so long . . .
I think he's gay (not that there's anything wrong with it) and the online girlfriend was a cover. Sure it speculation but that's what you get when you lie.
Now we know why the Irish disappeared in the national championship: They had the clay feet of their 'leader' on their minds, instead of the Tide. It was ever thus in college sports.
This dude is as big a fraud as Lance Armstrong. What an attention-starved, immature asswipe. Well, good luck to any team that drafts him. Unless they point a camera on him all the time like they did for him in college he's gonna shrivel up and fade into obscurity on the NFL level.
@jnic117 Fraud yes, Cheat No. Lance Armstrong cheated. End of story. Teo lied. End of story. They are both character issues but Teo's lies affected no one else's lives. What Lance did directly affected others. There is no comparison. They are however both dirt bags. End of Story.
"Why would Manti Te'o repeatedly talk about losing his girlfriend after finding out it wasn't true?"
Obviously, because he knew it wasn't true all along and by that point was so wrapped up in the lie that he couldn't help himself.
@kkolchack Not true. He didn't say anything, b/c he wanted to talk to his family first. It is OFFENSIVE and a smack in the face if he didn't talk to people close to him first about it. He wanted to go home and tell his family. He did, it took 3 weeks. Big deal. I've waited longer to announce things in my life. If he said on National TV that my girlfriend that died didn't exist, then ND and his family would be like "why didn't you tell us first?" Its a slap in the face to those close him. The world doesn't need to know right away.
@andrewdaviscmu Hey, I've got $25 million in a Nigerian bank account I need help getting out of the country. Just send me your personal banking information for the wire transfer and I promise I'll give you half the money.