Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Te'o tale still taking twists

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Not once but twice after he supposedly discovered his online girlfriend of three years never existed, Notre Dame All-America linebacker Manti Te'o perpetuated the heartbreaking story about her death.

An Associated Press review of news coverage found that the Heisman Trophy runnerup talked about her in a Web interview Dec. 8 and again in a newspaper interview published Dec. 10. He and the university said Wednesday that he learned on Dec. 6 that it was all a hoax, that not only wasn't she dead, she wasn't real.

The question remains: Was Te'o really duped, as he claimed, or were he and the university complicit in the hoax and misled the public, perhaps to improve his chances of winning the Heisman.

And adding another twist, former Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Maui'a said he met the woman linked to Te'o.

Maui'a told ESPN he met Lennay Kekua in 2011 while he and some teammates were on a charity mission to American Samoa. He said this was before the woman met Te'o and that he and Kekua became "good friends."

Maui'a was through talking about the issue Thursday, saying in a tweet, "if ur calling me for a story, plz don't. I have better things to do."

On Wednesday, Te'o and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said the player was drawn into a virtual romance and was fooled into believing the woman died of leukemia in September. They said his only contact with her was via the Internet and telephone.

Relying on information provided by Te'o's family members, the South Bend Tribune reported in October that Te'o and Kekua first met, in person, in 2009, and that the two had also gotten together in Hawaii.

Te'o never mentioned a face-to-face meeting in public comments reviewed by the AP. And an AP review of media reports about Te'o since Sept. 13 turned up no instance in which he directly confirmed or denied those stories — until Wednesday.

Te'o's agent, Tom Condon, said the athlete had no plans to make any public statements.

Notre Dame said Te'o found out that Kekau was not a real person through a phone call he received at an awards ceremony in Orlando on Dec. 6. He told Notre Dame coaches about the situation Dec. 26, nearly two weeks before the title game.

Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown said the Te'o family was getting ready to go public about the hoax and that the university deferred to their wishes.

"They're the victims and it's their story to tell," he said.

Many in Te'o's hometown of Laie, about 6,000 people and roughly an hour's drive from Honolulu, were angered with the perpetrator of what they believe is a hoax. "If he got hoaxed, that's not his fault; shame on them," said Makala Paakaula, 38, a high school administrator, "because he has a very trusting, open heart."

Te'o tale still taking twists 01/17/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 11:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games

    Minors

    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.