Okay, so thanks to Deadspin, we know that his girlfriend is (or was?) fake. The story goes like this, Manti’s grandma died, then shortly after on the same day, or a couple of days after his girlfriend died. Deadspin has done exhaustive research and discovered that the woman in all those pictures weren’t Te’o’s girlfriend, but an old high school friend of a guy named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. (Te’o’s boyfriend, whether he knew it of not)
Here’s where it’s time to speculate, and keep in mind this is completely based off the posts online by various sources as I do not know Te’o and do not claim this to be true. There are only three options for truth in this scenario. Option one is Manti is innocent, while highly unlikely it’s possible. That situation plays out in a not so intricate manner and is the easiest lie to tell. Ronaiah either has a very feminine voice, or a close friend willing to dupe Te’o and played an elaborate hoax on his friend, totally fucked up if true. This means that everything that Manti fell in love with was a part of Ronaiah’s disturbed mind. I’m not so willing to buy this, but it’s possible. However if his Wonderlic score is higher than 40, I’m calling bullshit.
Next, publicity stunt. Do you know how easy it is to tell people you have a girlfriend and then say she died when nobody is willing to do any fact checking at all? Pretty easy, look I’ll do it. “Hey guys you know my girlfriend in California? Yeah she died.” Now a normal friend wouldn’t question this, but a reporter should. When the name Lennay Kekua didn’t come up in any news report and the city of her funeral was made up; flags should have been raised. There’s no way that this story should have got through the media powerhouses that fueled this fire, which honestly threw his name on the Heisman Trophy contender list. If this is a publicity stunt, Manti should be publicly shamed and his draft stock will drop significantly.
Lastly, the odd part about this story was that every time Lennay was expected to be somewhere Ronaiah was there instead. People in Manti’s family met Ronaiah and never met Lennay (because she’s fake), but nobody ever asked why Ronaiah was the placeholder? It could be that Manti and Ronaiah has a relationship, which if true needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Homosexuality isn’t a disease or something to shun, it life. Some people are gay, bottom line. If this was all to cover up a relationship that would have been shunned by his Mormon family and Catholic school, then fess up. I don’t believe that one should be forced to come out of the closet publicly; but in this case the option is the best one. I seriously hope this is a cover up gone wrong.
Making up a person and then killing them with Leukemia after a car crash is brutal, my imaginary friends usually died of gunshots or falling off a cliff, but I didn’t tell the world about them first. No matter what the outcome of all this is, Manti still lied about meeting her several times, and if he got duped, his lies helped facilitate that to the nation. If he did this as a publicity stunt, the fuck him. However if this was a cover up gone terribly wrong, then it sucks that things will come to light this way, no matter who you are the world doesn’t have the right to know your preference.
This is just me trying to make sense of things. I am not involved with any of the mentioned entities, nor am I claiming that these are the only ways the truth will play out.