Thursday, January 17, 2013

Manti Te'o Says He Was Set Up

Throughout this past college football season as Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o was having the season of a lifetime, on the side was a human interest story for the ages involving the death of his grandmother and his long time girlfriend almost at the same time and how Manti used them both as inspiration  to have such a great season and even had one of his best games while skipping his girlfriend's funeral. It was all a hoax. Not the grandmother, but the girlfriend and Deadspin.com has it all right here. You can read that very in depth article, but what is interesting to me is that after the story broke, Manti now says his relationship with the woman was exclusively online and over the phone and that he never met his girlfriend. he also says that when he tried to meet her, she would never show up and that he became aware this was a hoax in the last week of December when he received a call from her cell phone and she was still alive. He says he told Notre Dame officials and they were going to release the story next week, but deadspin beat them to it. So, it took Notre Dame almost a month to get ready to release something? That seems like a very long time. Who do you believe? Was Manti a part of the hoax or unwilling participant?

92 comments:

FSP said...

From what I've heard, he was part of it and the GF was made up to hide the fact that he is gay.

rejectedcarebear said...

As a ND fan, I want to believe he was set up. I read the article and I hope this was a 'Catfish' type circumstance.

Barton Fink said...

I think that all "human interest" stories are fake. Even if the details are real, the "oh my heck, I'm so goshdarnded consarnded about that person I've never met" is fake.

LottaColada said...

I just think it's ironic that the same people who were singing his praises are the same people tearing him down in the media after they never even checked their facts. Saw a "good" story there and ran with it. That's the media these days.

donner said...

There are too many questions to believe that he was innocent in all this. I seriously doubt he was setup. But it is interesting to watch it all play out.

LottaColada said...

And I too believe he knew what was going on. But what is with the Arizona Cardinals player saying met Lennay? This story had taken on a life of it's own. Can't wait to great what Manti says if he speaks out today.

discoflux said...

Pathological liars make the world go 'round!

Or at least that's what they say...

Erin B said...

It seems unreal to me that he couldn't have been a part of this regardless of the reason for it. His father stated he met her. Was his dad part of the hoax too? I doubt it.

jes7o said...

I think he was completely part of the hoax. Interviews with him and his father in October completely contradict ND's assertion that he was a victim. I think this was made up to make it seem like he had a girlfriend and to raise his human interest cred prior to Heismann voting. I have a sneaking suspicion that he's gay....

I am more annoyed that this is getting about 10000 times more attention than the ND rape scandal ever did.....

Tuxedo Cat said...

I don't see how, with his relative wealth and privilege, how he would not have had the time and money to see a dying girlfriend. When an athlete loses a close relative, you hear of them being given a few days off -- that's just part of life. It's not that difficult to put off a funeral for a few days if there is a good reason - I had to do it for one of my parents bc there was an ice storm and it wasn't safe to travel. If I could do that, I'm sure he could have.

I don't think he will be a first choice draft pick bc of his drama, but I don't think it will hurt him all that much in the long run because he has actual talent, and he has a story attached to him, that would be difficult to prove or disprove.

KendraWM said...

If you asked me 2 years ago was he in on it I would have said without a doubt. But here is a little story:
When I was pregnant I was on a website (Babycenter) they have a forum area and in our birth club there was a pregnant women who just broke our hearts, she was nearly married and pregnant and her sister and DH and baby were in a car crash, they died, she got custody of the 4 month old. FF she gives birth has a new born and an 8 month old, turns out her child has some health problems, FF again she posts a devastating post about how her son had a seizure and eventually died.

It was so sad. She never asked for any money, but we wanted to do something nice for them, so all of a sudden people were asking to donate money and all this crazy stuff. A few of us were like no way and went back and read nearly 18 months worth of her posts, looked at all the pictures she posted and started digging. The photos she stole off of other websites and blogs from people who really did have sick children.

In the end it was discovered is was a 19 year old college student who was bored and concocted this whole elaborate story and kept it going for 18 months.

So yes there are people out there who do like to see if they can scam someone and see how far and long they can go with it.

Amber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amber said...

I love this story sososososossosoSO much! He has talked about how when they met, they locked eyes and it was love at first sight. DURRRRRRRRR. He wanted publicity. He had a Heisman campaign to run. He has draft stock to pad. Of course he was in on it, and of course he's now going to play the victim card because he looks like a friggin' idiot.

Check out the timeline for this S. Carolina player @JadeveonClowny. It's HYSTERICAL.

**Fixed my link

Maximus said...

Horseradish.

He was in on it. Either for sympathy or to cover his sexuality (a Mormon Samoan football player is part of 3 homosexually hostile groups), but he was privvy. Too far down the rabbit hole to not be.

Irishbelle said...

Hello everyone! I'm a very long time reader but this is my first comment. I've always wondered what post would finally get me to join you all and this is it. Let me start by saying that it's been over 10 years since I went to school in South Bend (at ND's sister school) so I don't know what the culture is like now but I do have many friends who still live there and some who work at ND. Just like all of you I am in total shock as to this whole story. Those that I know that have met him say he really is a wonderful person. If he is a victim here, then my heart hurts for him because this has to be utterly humiliating. If he participated, my heart still hurts because more than anything I really wanted to believe that there are still good people in this world (and in college athletics). I hope Manti speaks today, and I hope what he says can explain all the inconsistencies. Until then I'm going to reserve my final judgement. (as if I matter....)

Sass71 said...

Amber, he's not the real Jadeveon; but never the less, he is hilarious!

Onyx Loathes Hydrangeas said...

@lottacolada, great point abt the media

DBZee said...

@Kendra, I was on BabyCenter with my first (14 years later, we now have our FB group!) & we had one of those, too. It was so elaborate and well-done, it truly shocked everyone when it came out that it was a woman who had been convicted twice of fraud & identity theft. Freaky, too, b/c you share a lot on those boards, thinking that you're talking with friends.

Agent**It said...

Irishbelle , shout out for St. Mary's !

Seachica said...

I don't know what to think, but as a Mormon, he would likely have been very naive and taught that obeisance and not questioning too hard are virtues. There's a reason why so many multi-level marketing scams happen in Utah. When you aren't taught to think and question for yourself, and you are taught that to believe in something is proof of its existence, you are vulnerable to all sorts of scams.

I also think he might have been gay. Even a Mormon boy, taught from birth that sexuality is only for marriage and that mere masturbation is sinning -- well, even a boy raised in that environment still expects and wants some physical contact from a girlfriend! Only someone who is in denial of their sexuality would be happy and satisfied with a girlfriend that they only know online.

This story is so strange.

Henriette said...

He was in on it! His story kept changing. He was gunning for the Heissman and wanted some PR.

Me said...

i had a friend that fell for something similar a few years ago. there were some OBVIOUS signs that the guy wasn't who he said he was, but my friend was really taken. i kept expecting that the guy would ask for money, but apparently he never did. he had a web site, where my friend connected with him, so i'm sure there were other victms. there's a line from some show tat my kids and i quote as a joke, but it seems to apply here; your words are lies, but my tears are real.

KendraWM said...

Stupid phone posting before I was done.

But I find it hard to believe that someone could go that long in an internet relationship without meeting.

At some point you have to question why the person does not meet with you. Like he claims happened

J Sara said...

This is lying of epic Lohan like proportions!!!

__-__=__ said...

That's why you want to keep your internet ish private. That and identity theft. There is way too much of our private information shared and sold by corporations. Add some fools playing games and it's a recipe for disaster. Protect yourself! Google yourself like you check credit reports. This poor guy has been hit too many times. He's in on it. Bigger the lie, bigger the belief.

Henriette said...

A lot of times these stories aren't even for money---just attention and sympathy. There was a chick who lied about having cancer to get attention from a cancer survivors's group. People are damaged in many ways. The Internet is filled with loons trying to pull heartstrings.

FSP said...

Masturbation is a sin? Crap.

LSG said...

I will share a personal story of psuedo-"catfishing" & one of my friends favorites. I live in the midwest and over a holiday in 99 met a guy we will call Joe Smith, who home visiting family but had moved to San Diego about a year earlier. We went on a few dates and kept in weekly touch over telephone when he went back and then dates when he would come back and visit. This is before everyone had cell phones. So around Christmas - 1 year later - Joe sent me a card stating he'd move back if I wanted something serious. I went home for the holiday to my parents which is 3 hours from where I lived and realized I didn't have his phone number with me. I tried to dial from memory to no avail...so I called information and they gave me his number. I called him and we talked the holiday and such and I kept the number on me. Over the next 3 months, conversations continued. We talked about a career change, his grandmother dying, and he sent me a ticket to come visit. The day I got the ticket, Joe Smith called me and was pissed that I just ignored him after the card and was really hurt. I was dumbfounded and said I have been talking with you almost daily and you sent me a ticket to visit. Needless to say...there were 2 Joe Smith's in San Diego. My Joe was a border agent and found - who my friends call the fake - Joe and confronted him. The fake Joe said he was just lonely and wanted someone to talk to. Obviously, the relationship with real Joe never worked out...he couldn't get over that I didn't know it was him & thankfully I never took the flight. Who knows what would've happened.

Tammy said...

Unwilling participant? Good grief There is nothing here that he could have been blackmailed over, for crying out loud. He knew it was fake alright.

I don't think he needed the sympathy vote for the Heisman, because he already had his grandmother's death. If it's true he's gay, I can see why he'd do it; he probably started it as much for cover to his family as anything, and it just snowballed from there. I can see him even paying a girl to meet his dad and fellow players, and saying it was this Lennay. And then you have to "kill" her off, because you know it can't continue. If he is gay and that's why he did it, I wish he'd come all the way clean, so people realize what lengths people will go to try and conform to what they think other people expect. This has got to stop.


I don't think it should effect his football career at all, but anyone who thinks he was "hoaxed" is naive.

Jules_345 said...

Babycenter is whack! Met some of my best friends thru there but it also attracts some psychos!

warmislandsun said...

This whole story reeks of desperation. Sad.

Irishbelle said...

Thanks Agent**It!!!

PuggleWug said...

This story is so weird and awesome. This guy had to be in on it. I'm surprised people bought it for so long.

Irishbelle said...

Thanks Agent**It!!!

stigs84 said...

I don't understand this idea of having an online "relationship" with someone you've never met in the first place, I just find it very strange

Jolene Jolene said...

I absolutely believe that hoaxes like this happen all the time and many unknowing people are duped, but there is no way in HELL that Manti wasn't in on it. He changed his story so many times, and it's just so draaaaamaaaaatic. Don't believe for a second that he's a victim. No. Way.

SusanB said...

I think he's gay also. And if he wants an NFL career, he may thing that coming out would be a career ender, or be unwilling to deal with the fallout, so he concocted a fake girlfriend who conveniently died. If he's smart, he'll come out, admit he lied, say it was because he was afraid life as a gay man would be too difficult in the NFL and appeal to the sympathy people have for men who are closeted.

If it were a hoax, it'd be kind of easy to prove - surely he has some of the e-mails - it's easy enough to find out what computer they were sent from and work from there.

SusanB said...

*think* not thing. Not enough caffeine yet :)

MalibuBarbie said...

I've also heard that he's gay, and this was concocted as a cover.

So sad that he's ruined a promising career by internalized homophobia. Hopefully, this will shine a spotlight on the lengths people still feel compelled to go to, to hide their sexuality. Such a shame...

SusanB said...

I'd also add that he made up a girlfriend rather than lie to a real woman and hurt her.

AKM said...

ND fan here, hoping like mad that he WAS in fact clueless. It's such a convoluted story that I can't quite make heads or tails of it anyway.

KellyLynn said...

His story does seem awfully strange, but, like irish belle and LSG, I have seen firsthand the elaborate ruses people perpetrate online.
Back when I was a host for MSN chats, I saw a few. One in particular involved a woman who would start an intense relationship with one of the regulars, and then tell them how she had cancer, but she was going through treatment. They would get to the point in the relationship where the guy wanted to meet her, but she would cancel at the last minute. The first time she did this, the particular guy who was smitten tried to set up another meeting with her. We suspect the person she sent online to find him and tell him she had died was actually her in a different profile. Of course, he was devastated. We all thought it was a bit fishy that someone else would know so much about this person's online life that she would seek out this person's online boyfriend.
In any case, that story was forgotten until, a few months later, a regular in another room started seeing a different person who had a very similar-yet-dramatic story as the first girl's. Of course, no one mentioned this to the guy until his "girlfriend" also stood him up for a real-life meeting. That's when a few of the other regulars explained it all to him.
I don't remember the exact way he confronted her, but I do remember her getting irate and getting kicked out several times after that. She later tried to conduct a similar ruse in the Cities chat (the first two were in the Romance chat rooms), but, again, there were enough regulars who visited that area that she didn't get very far.
Not everyone is a fake, but there are enough to make you wonder how many people are who they say they are. I'll give him the benefit of a doubt.

Silly Girl said...

What is the 'catfish' reference? I don't get that part.
As for the rest of it, it really sounds like he was in on the hoax from the beginning, and got caught. I have no guess as to why he needed the human interest plug though. But....didn't this happen on Survivor and Big Brother? So, it has made the news before (the death of a loved one to gain sympathy of the public, only to find out it wasn't true).

SueRH said...

@Kendra @LSG - Those are some crazy stories!

Amy in MI said...

I had a lot of friends that went to St Mary's around that time. It's a small world!

Amber said...

@Silly Girl - there's a movie, and now show, called Catfish. I don't really want to tell you what it's about, because I don't want to spoil it!

scratchy kitty said...

Yep that's the prevailing theory

Irishbelle said...

I'm a 2000 grad. We had a pretty small class. Bet I've at least heard of them!

Amy in MI said...

It's very easy to say he had to of known until you realize, as others have said, this happens more often than you think. I was co- admin of a huge final fantasy forum about 7-8 years ago. We had a girl who claimed all kinds of stuff - she had cancer, was in the hospital in a coma, had multiple personalities, etc. the owner of the board fell for it hook line and sinker. Another admin and i called hospitals and such and there was no record of this person. People want to believe what they want to believe

Jolene Jolene said...

@Amber--HAHA @JadeveonClowny

"You wanna know what's weirder than Manti Teo making up a girlfriend then pretend killing her? Nothing."

HAHAHAHAHAAHA!

thatfunnygirl said...

Gawd I love that show Catfish. I'm SO hoping it is a legit show but I am skeptical because how can people be THAT stupid and gullible???

MalibuBarbie said...

When you break it down, it's self explanatory:

1 Football = anti-gay
2 Mormonism = anti-gay
3 Samoan = anti-gay
4 Notre Dame = anti-gay

What does a closeted gay, Samoan, Mormon, Notre Dame footballer do, if he wants to succeed in a homophobic environment?

Seachica said...

@fsp -- yes. And you will be asked by church authorities if you have been sinning that way in your temple recommend interviews. There is some weird shit in that religion.

lizness said...

years ago a girl I worked with had a dumb, thug drug dealer boyfriend who became a vegetable from an accident that was totally his fault and preventable. she stayed with him (only briefly out of guilt and obligation) The newspaper article made him seem like a great dude and a it sad and tragic love story for the ages. I laughed and laughed and laughed, and laughed some more when I read it, as it couldn't have been more false, slanted and far from reality. I have NEVER believe an iota of a human interest story again in the paper.

LottaColada said...

**UPDATE**

Apparently someone is still using "Lennay Kekua's" Twitter account and posted something last night.

Is that 12pm eastern cuz I'm basically at that. WTF is going on...

Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

I think he's definitely in on it. I hadn't considered the "gay angle," I was just thinking he was using the "Danny Gokey strategy" to stardom.

Seachica said...

Wait, wtf? The tweet says it isn't fair to drag in the guy this has all been traced to??? I can't wait to see how this ends

JSierra said...

I wonder how many posters on this site are actually the same person...

Elly said...

It seems like he was involved since his story kept changing, but have you heard of Alicia Esteve Head. She claimed to be a 9/11 survivor, but really wasn't even in the U.S. at the time of the attacks. They made a documentry about her called "The Women Who Wasn't There."

urban chaos said...

The story makes me sad either way- if he felt compelled to lie and hide his true self for fear of homophobia or belief that it was wrong it's awful.

If people actually scammed him and he was gullible enough to fall for this and was heartbroken it's equally horrible.

supapimp said...

I don't think he's gay, i just think he's too oblivious.

LottaColada said...

I think the tweet is about the 2 NFL players who claimed to have actually met Lennay Kekua in person. Did they get duped too? Anyways, the other guy who is said to be behind the whole drama is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. It's all so damn confusing yet I can't get enough of it.

MalibuBarbie said...

For those of you who think he's just a big dumb lug/innocent Mormon footballer, who was taken for a ride:

http://outkickthecoverage.com/manti-teos-fake-dead-girlfriend-breaks-the-internet.php

Anna Nawnamizz said...

Welcome Irish Belle, for me this story could go either way, but probably a combination of both. He's probably closeted, naive, stupid, and in on it.

Jolene Jolene said...

@Lotta--I read the entire deadspin article last night, and I had to go over it a couple of times I was so confused.

Ronaiah is the guy who went to high school with the girl whose photos they used as Lennay, and he is going to be blamed as the guy who "duped" Manti. Deadspin know that he and Manti know each other because they've tweeted each other in the past multiple times, but the tweets have since been deleted (shocker!). There are so many lies in his story, Manti will never get away with it. It's only a matter of time.

yodelay said...

I think it's a little of both. He was likely catfished, but then when she hit him with the dying news, he played it up to his advantage. That's just what we've come to as a society.

I take anything anyone says about themselves on the Internet with a HUGE grain of salt. Some fib out of insecurity, but some people really get off on lying and manipulating others.

SusanB said...

I'm just hoping this guy calls a press conference for the same time as the Lance Armstrong interview (isn't that tonight?) I'd love to see Armstrong ignored in favor of this story - it's certainly a lot more interesting!

Seachica said...

@susan -- I'm afraid Lance would want his story to be overshadowed by Mante. If Lance wanted folks to really hear his apology, he would have chosen a network watched by sports fans, not the Oprah network that probably has viewers who are football widows instead.

RocketQueen said...

I vote he was in on it. And an idiot for thinking it wouldn't be discovered.
He supposedly talked to this woman on the phone all the time and the woman was really one of his good friends the whole time? Puh-LEASE.

Feisty said...

I guess I just don't understand why he would need to "kill" his fake girlfriend on the same day his grandma died?

I remember hearing the story mentioned once or twice during the season(I'm in SEC country) and thought it was bizarre and unlikely then.

Also, out of all the things to publicize about the ND football program, this is it? Not the girl who committed suicide after reporting a rape by a football player and was subsequently harassed by teammates?

Badbarfly said...

I was working in a sports bar in South Bend yesterday when this hit ESPN and the locals are shocked. Last night I worked at a student bar and nobody can say a bad word about him. I have never heard or seen any crazy stories about him unlike some of the other football players. (One that refused to put his clothes back on, drunk outside the bar in 20 degree weather at 3am weeks before the National Championship game) I hope he is a young man that got set up and not his own lies. Whoever did this should be right in front of the media expaining themselves, not him!

Silly Girl said...

@malibu, thanks for the link to that article. I was hoping something like that would be printed so I could get the condensed version of it. Wow, this could get sticky, but honestly, who cares? Were any laws broken? Just a bunch (and I mean a BUNCH) of fans duped with a human interest story? Maybe this is why sports should be about sports and not their personal life (Tebow, Woods, Phelps, etc.). Let the talents stand on it's own (Armstrong). ...if I knew any other scandalous sports figures, I'd throw them in here too!

jax said...

dude got Catfished and is mortified by it.

It happens to people everyday all over. I feel for him. I think he told everyone they met to save himself from ridicule. Just this week on Catfish a highschool jock who was good looking and sweet was duped by someone who he thought he loved. the guy had no problems meeting women, he just found a deeper connection online. I felt bad for him, he finally opened up and got burned BAD.

mamabot said...

We had some issues with a teen on a Disney message board. He claimed his mom had been killed in a car crash. I thought it was suspicious, so I contacted the sheriff's department for his town. There was never an accident.

Through my research, I discovered that he was not a college student but a high school student. He was ostracized from the group almost immediately. I never understood the people who still believed his false stories.

UPL said...

@jax - I can see that as a possibility, that he lied about meeting to save face. But, I don't know, it just seems a lot more convoluted than that to me.

I am enjoying watching it play out though.

Jazzy said...

Wow. I thought it was for PR in the Heisman race. Interesting.

Spike Gomes said...

I'm from the area he's from, graduated from the high school many of his relatives go to. Some notes.

1. He's not your typical football dumbo. Punahou is a pretty elite school and even the sports recruits are expected to carry themselves part-way there.

2. Devout Mormons really are naive enough to fall for something like this.

3. He may be gay, he may not. It's tough to tell with super devout Mormons like him. They're just so sexually repressed in general, it's impossible to tell. Chances are, if he is gay, he's in denial of it himself. In Pacific Islander communities (I'm part-Hawaiian), there's this conception of gayness as being "mahu" or "faleafine", i.e. being effeminate. If you have gay feelings and are masculine, you're not really *gay*, in the way a person can drink and not be an alcoholic.

old ;ady said...

I posted things on here when I was going through a horrible time in my life, but I told the truth and you all were so nice to me. If you do not believe me you can check out my Daughter's obit at "Cover Funeral Home, Dundee, Michigan" its "Katherine Hartwick Muscarella" Aug 11, 2012.

Having a friend who is Morman and meeting a lot of Morman's I think he is gay and trying to hide it. I feel sorry for him having to hide. He went about this the wrong way and now it is blowing up on him.

AndyCane said...

I think the same thing

Silly Girl said...

@old ;ady, I'm so sorry for your loss. I had no idea. I'm from the area....again, so sorry....

Seachica said...

Did any tweets clarifying this happen at noon as promised?

Silly Girl said...

OK, this is really starting to bug me a little bit. If this were 1985, I'd believe it, but with all the access to all things on the internet, NO WAY is this true. A simple google search, COME ON! He did nothing to try to verify her existence?!?! Oh, wait, he said he met her in person, their eyes locked, and all that other BS. I'm seriously calling BS on this one. Not ONE person he knew told him he should check her out to see if she's real?! Not ONE PERSON said, dude, she's stood you up three times IN HAWAII, you need to ask her if she's real?!?
Yea, coffee's kicking in, and this is really starting to bug me.
He knew about it. The whole thing. He was totally in on it.

wrekehavoc said...

all these notre dame people crying about a fictitious person's death and none of them crying about a real person's. unreal. from the washington post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/01/17/a-fake-tragedy-gets-more-tears-than-a-real-one/

Brooke said...

Perfectly stated. More people need to wake up and realize that the media is in the business of making money, not telling the truth. I work with them every day, and they are the biggest bunch of lazy scum ever. Sorry for the rant, but that's the sad truth.

hollywood dime said...

this is the best story ever! what makes the story beyond implausible is the fact he's a star footballer. in college. those boys have girls throwing themselves constantly. they're friends who AREN'T players get laid just by proxy! and we're supposed to believe that he had a relationship with someone he now claims he never met? for like 2 years???!!! lmaoooo! He's claims he met her at after a standford game and they spoke every night until she'd fall asleep. and wake up in the morning still hearing her breathing on the other line! cool story bro!

he was definitely trying to use the deaths as an angle to make himself mythical. football player overcomes adversity to win multiple games is a great headliner!
and you call someone the love of your life, but somehow don't make it to the (non existent) funeral. oh ok. LMAOOOOO

Lelaina Pierce said...

Your first paragraph, exactly my same thought! At my school football, baseball, basketball players were worshipped. These dudes had NO problems getting laid or having real girlfriends.

I am not buying he wasn't in on it. At ALL.

Lelaina Pierce said...

^That was directed at Hollywood Dime.

hollywood dime said...

@lelaina EXACTLY! He knew what's was up. Do people get duped online of course, happens all the time. Just didn't happen to him. Lol. And he's playing victim hard. I love it.

Amy in MI said...

Old ;ady - I am from Monroe... I remember reading your daughters obit in the Monroe Evening News when she died and she was awfully familiar to me, but I went to Monroe, not Ida (although I have friends who live in Ida).

It is a small small world.

Little Miss Type A said...

Check out a movie called catfish where the storyline revolves around fake online profiles/identities.

Agent**It said...

Old;ady, thank you for sharing the link. She was a beauty. Hope your granddaughter is doing well. Enjoyed your recent update about her. xo.

Angela said...

1. Go Belles! I'm an SMC grad as well.

2. A dear guy friend of mine (and a very intelligent one, I might add) was in a relationship with a woman he met on the internet. He had spoken to her on the phone for hours at a time, and she sent him a couple of pictures of herself, but they had never Skyped because she was "too self-conscious". They talked about marriage, and planned what they would name their children, and even how they planned to save for their children's college educations. They kept making plans to visit each other, but something always came up in her life at the last minute that prevented them from meeting.

Their connection was emotional, mental, and spiritual. And it was that purity (of not beginning as a physical/sexual endeavor) that I believe made it such a powerful connection for him. He loved her for who she was. Or, at least, who he believed she was.

Long story short: In the end (after a year of dating), it turned out that she was lying to him about a lot of things. She had even lied to him about having a brain tumor. And lied about how she might have to move to Japan. And looked nothing like the pictures (she was extremely overweight, a far cry from the photos of an athletic gal that she had sent him). But he was so very, very in love with the idea of her, that he completely fell for all of her manipulations.

Anyway. If this Te'o scandal had happened a few years ago, I would have been more inclined to doubt him. But because I know how easy it was for my friend to let himself believe he had found the perfect woman without ever having seen her... I am inclined to give Te'o the benefit of the doubt. In fact, I'd say that this is the sort of thing that could only happen to someone who is loving, trusting, and kind-hearted, all of which are qualities I would like to believe that Te'o possesses.

(As for saying that he met her, I think it's completely possible that he said that to his parents and to his teammates to save himself from a bit of the shame and embarrassment of dating someone that he met online.)