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Deadspin’s Timothy Burke discusses breaking Te’o story

Jan 17, 2013, 3:15 AM EDT


As the hours roll on, we’ll likely learn much more about the elaborate prank that turned Manti Te’o’s life upside down. As Deadspin’s initial report brings the hive mind to the search party, we’ll learn more and more about people like Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a character that’ll likely become more and more despicable as the facts come to life.

The mystery of Lennay Kekua seems to only get more confusing. NFL fullback Reagan Mauia claims to have met Kekua too, insisting to ESPN that she’s a real person.

“This was before her and Manti,” Mauia told ESPN. “I don’t think Manti was even in the picture, but she and I became good friends. We would talk off and on, just checking up on each other kind of thing. I am close to her family. When she was going through the loss of her father, I was — I offered a comforting shoulder and just someone to bounce her emotions off. That was just from meeting her in Samoa.”

As this story continues to bizarrely unravel, Timothy Burke, one of the co-authors of the Deadspin story, joined Erik Kuselias to discuss the breaking news.


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  1. ndirish86 - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    For all the talk about who said what – Te’o, his father, etc – I have seen very few if any actual quotes. Even in the interview above, the deadspin guy says only “stories are out there” and debunks the stories. But never identifies the sources of the stories. Why are the insinuations of who’s complicit so vague?

    Anyone with actual relevant facts at hand, sourceable not hearsay – please share

    (Anyone with baseless speculation – please keep it to yourself)

    • runners00 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      See this story in the South Bend Tribune where Dad mentions the girl.,0,7039942,full.story

      There are other stories that mention the existence of this girl and how they met and hung out and the like. It’s bad. Like I said, it’s bad. There is lying going on here.

  2. jerseyshorendfan1 - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Playlist from Manti’s iPod:

    Imaginary Lover
    If I Can’t Have You
    If Ever You’re in my Arms Again
    Dream Lover
    Got To Be Real
    American Idiot

    • dickasman - Jan 17, 2013 at 5:28 PM

      I just died in your arms tonight.
      Say you say me.
      Fock Martinez

  3. irish4me - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Runners00: Character benefits? He continued to play football through the death of his girlfriend? I’m sorry what’s the benefit there again? Something you can highlight on a resume perhaps, or the NFL comes calling because they’re not so much interested in whether he can tackle anyone as they are in knowing he’ll be there on game day if there’s a death in the family? So if what you believe is true, then he hatched this plan back in 2009 when the tweets first started and his plan was what ? “When my Grandmother dies, I’ll tie the two deaths together to get in Sports Illustrated and enhance my chances for the Heisman and the NFL” ? And that’s not far – fetched to you? Then he goes to the AD’s office and report this a month before the NC game so they can investigate and said investigation probably alerted the Blogger and then he can be outted and all of this happens. Great plan, what’s the benefit to Manti again ?
    The key to all of this is HOW DID MANTI FIND OUT HE WAS DUPED, the girlfriend piece is I believe something that was labeled by others not Manti, then appeared in print and the NBC pre game
    chatter and he probably thought how do I correct this and NOT look incredibly stupid. My guess is he thought it would all cool off and go away, but with the team going undefeated it remained part of the “magical season” and it snowballed. But then that’s just me giving a fellow human being the benefit of the doubt, until I hear his side. None of us know what the order of events were or even all of the participants, but for me I’ll give the benefit of the doubt as I would hope would be given to me. I’d really hate to be on trial for something serious and have most of these so -called ND fans as a jury of my peers. That would be really scary.

    • runners00 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:19 PM

      I’m not sure about one thing that you are saying. I am not aware of articles about the girlfriend prior to her death. I mean, there was obviously a lot of coverage about her around the time of her death (including the October 12 article in the SB Tribune). But is there coverage about her prior to her death?

      But favorable coverage unquestionably flowed to Te’o as a result of his commitment to play through his “pain” which came from the death of his girlfriend and his Grandma. Now, if he truly had a girlfriend that he was in love with — even though he’d never met her — I could sort of see the justification for the favorable coverage. I just think that it’s more likely that someone around him — likely his parents — created some sort of leak that was picked up by a news outlet that related to leukemia and death and girlfriend. And once the train left the station, it was down the tracks.

  4. fanofevilempire - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    he is gay, and the girlfriend lie helped keep it low.

  5. ninjaogesan - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Should anyone be surprised? This guy is Mormon, and Mormon’s believe all sorts of weird stuff they never see and most folks think is too kooky to ever be real. Can you say horses on the moon? 5+ kids gives you the best seats in Heaven? Getting Catfished is mild imho to most Mormon beliefs!

    • runners00 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      this is awful — go somewhere else.

  6. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Take one look at the “related” articles being promoted on the Deadspin website and then reevaluate your theory.

    Here’s the list of currently related articles that Deadspin is promoting. I didn’t make these up. Actual articles on the Deadspin site….

    Related Stories
    -How to Tell if Your Friend’s Girlfriend Is Not Real: A Lesson from the Manti Te’o FiascoGawker
    -What Happened To Manti Te’o’s Interview With ESPN?
    -Darnell Dockett Wants To Cheer Up Manti Te’o By Taking Him To The Strip Club
    -Your Manti Te’o Live Funbag
    -Here’s Everything The Media Screwed Up In Reporting The Story Of Manti Te’o’s Fake Dead Girlfriend
    -The Manti Te’o Fake Girlfriend Hoax: Crazy 3D News EditionGizmodo
    -Manti Te’o’s Teammates Had Their Doubts About Lennay Kekua
    -Journalism, Scientology, and Manti Te’o: Finding the Leper with the Most FingersGawker
    -Notre Dame Says Manti Te’o Is a Victim. That’s Rich, Considering Their History of Ignoring Actual Victims.Jezebel

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      Also important to note…like most other internet media organizations…Deadspin and it’s parent company, Gawker Media, have ONE singular goal. WEBSITE TRAFFIC. There goal is not journalistic integrity. It’s clicks and visitors, which is the main selling point when you are selling advertising for your website…which, coincidentally, starts at a meager $25,000!

  7. mmanor01 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    See the link for proof that Manti had no idea what was going…

    • ksrippstein - Jan 17, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      The dude WAS saying he’d met her. He met her after the football game between Stanford & ND. He met her when she came to Hawaii. He claimed he met her and now he is backtracking. He knew exactly what was going on!

  8. 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    I am so tired of this story already. Let’s just go back to talking about how lousy the NCG was and whose fault it was that Anzalone went south (pun intended). By comparison, those were fun topics on the interwebs.

  9. colkrakers - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    80% sure? so what you are saying is you don’t know then…

  10. ndtod - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    I just want to say that at this moment, with JS on recond supporting Manti and embarassed media outlets and ND haters piling on, I stand with Mr. Te’o. He did a *TON* for ND this year and in his career and yes, this craziness makes his legacy more “complicated” (gotta love Keith). But the good far outweighs the odd. This is the time to support Manti. Not #5– Manti. He has earned it and he is our brother. GO IRISH.

  11. nudeman - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    There is no escaping this story. It is the lead on absolutely EVERYTHING.
    F’ing al Jazeera is probably sending some clowns to SB to cover it.

    Yet somehow … I still don’t care.

    Keith, any info on when they will sell those practice jerseys in the bookstore?

  12. jerseyirish10 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Have to say, I’m losing steam over this myself, you just can’t escape it. As a side note to fan the flames even more, Bob Holtzman/ESPN are reporting that a former ND teammate said that many players knew this person wasn’t his girlfriend but he played it up/played along after her “death” as part of the tragic story being told. Said Te’o loves attention so much, he points himself out on TV. Teammate stopped short of saying Te’o was involved or even knew it was a hoax but like Nude said yesterday, we really don’t know this kid, or any of them well at all. Just an amazing and really sad, pathetic story. For him, he should just start talking, get it over with and please let’s all move on.

    • runners00 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:53 PM

      Both things could be true: he could have “met” her online in 2009 and then sort of got close to her in 2012, before she died.

      But to your point about athletes saying that they knew this girl wasn’t his girlfriend, I imagine that this is right. I mean, imagine sort of how this could have played out. You “meet” her online in 2009. You talk, you know, periodically in 2009 and 2010 and 2011. Then in early 2012, you start to get closer to her and talk to her more frequently. Suddenly, you really dig the girl. You’re talking all the time and before too long she dies.

      You’re not devastated because you never met her in person, but you talked to her so often that you kind of miss her. And, then the story gets out and you can’t stop it. . . .

      • nudeman - Jan 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        Yeah … we’ve all been there

  13. mtmk0586 - Jan 17, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Go N D.

  14. mtmk0586 - Jan 17, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    Some of these thoughts are mind blowing. Why don’t people wait before they end up writing things that may not be true and then look really stupid later.

  15. wgray981 - Jan 17, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    Lol’ing. Sorry ND fans…looks like the sob story that captivated your hearts and almost gave the Heisman to an undeserving candidate is FAKE.

  16. mungman69 - Jan 18, 2013 at 3:24 AM

    You’re lost Teo, come back soon.

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