The college football world is no doubt the most talked about sport right now. Why? The star player for Notre Dame Manti Te’o seems to have been a victim of a real life catfish situation.
Before I go any further, a ‘catfish situation’ is a term based of the hit MTV reality show about online daters who wish to meet the object of their virtual affections, but something is usually a lie about the other person, be it they aren’t the person in their profile picture or any number of strange things.
Back in September, Sports Illustrated printed the inspirational story about Te’o helping his team restore a little glory to Notre Dame’s struggling football program in spite of losing his grandmother and girlfriend within a six hour span of each other. It was said that Te’o’s girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, had died of leukemia after surviving a serious car accident. Te’o told anyone who would listen that he received word Kekua had died and he didn’t go to the funeral because she insisted he honor her by playing in whatever game was scheduled.
However, the public found out yesterday the whole story was a hoax. There was never any Lennay Kekua. Manti Te’o and Notre Dame both released statements saying their star linebacker had been the victim of a horrible prank that went awry. While the college institution and law enforcement investigate the origins of the alleged prank, I saw three red flags when I read Deadspin.com‘s article about the hoax.
First, Te’o is described as a devout Mormon. Second, Te’o and Kekua were supposedly together for a little over a year and had only met once at a football game against Stanford University. Kekua was said to have been a student there. Stanford has no record of Kekua ever enrolling or even applying to the school. Lastly, friends of the mysterious Lennay Kekua said every time she would tweet about where she would be, she wouldn’t be there but a young man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo would. In fact, Tuiasosopo and Te’o are close family friends and Tuiasosopo comes from a big football family.
Though Te’o maintains he is the victim of a prank, I think he was in on the whole thing. Things in his story detailed in the Deadspin article don’t add up. I think Manti Te’o and Ronaiah Tuiasosopo were in a secret homosexual relationship and were busted. Whoever caught them in a compromising position threatened to blow the whistle and not in a pleasurable manner and the two young men concocted the Lennay Kekua person as a preemptive cover up.
Let’s do the math. Te’o is a devout Mormon. It’s widely known the Mormon community doesn’t have the best outlook on homosexuality. He is also the star player of a popular football institution. Plus, he is said to be a shoe-in for first round draft pick in the NFL. Although there are pro athletes who have come out of the closet and the NFL doesn’t discriminate against gay players, that says nothing about the hazing and harassment that would most likely go down in the locker room. If that isn’t enough, you mean to tell me you are the star player at a school with thousands of beautiful women willing to do anything you ask just for one night of passionate sex and you opt for the girl you never see and only speak to on Twitter and on the telephone? Either he is on the fast track to heaven for being so virtuous or he’s lying worse than when Joseline Hernandez tried to deny she was knocking boots with Stevie J on “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta.”
Te’o has plenty of reasons to lie about being homosexual. I’m not saying he definitely is gay, but it is plausible. Although we’re moving toward an America where gay marriage is legal, the fight for acceptance is still very real.
Finally, America is so used to hearing negative news that when they hear something inspirational such as Te’o leading his team to victory in spite of all the tragedy in his life, we will ignore the obvious holes in the story just to believe in something positive. Even if my theory turns out to be just that — a theory — there is something fishy about this story and we aren’t talking the MTV reality show.
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