Notre Dame Teammates React to Manti Te'o Girlfriend Hoax

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2013

In the wake of the alleged Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax that has stunned the entire sports world, the Notre Dame linebacker's teammates have started to speak out on the situation. 

A teammate who asked to answer some questions on the condition of anonymity told Pepper On Sports that something was fishy about the way the media pounced on the story about his girlfriend and grandmother dying at the same time: "No we all knew he had only seen her once. But when the media was saying how he went through both deaths we knew."

The report also says that the source speculates that "the lie may have indeed started with somebody duping Te’o using a phony twitter account, and eventually, faking their own death."

In addition to that, the player also said that the team had suspicions, but that Te'o was never approached about the situation by anyone: "We would never bring it up. But we would look at him when he would get all emotional during media about his girl."

The article concludes with the player saying that he believes Te'o to be a "very good" actor. 

Notre Dame campus representative Tyler Moorehead wrote for the college sports network that Te'o's teammates had issues with Lennay Kekua being labeled his girlfriend and that there might have been something more to it. 

The debate among teammates wasn’t whether or not Manti actually knew this girl — it was clear that they had been in contact; no, players just didn’t think that it was fair to call Lennay Kekua Manti’s girlfriend, period (it is well-known on campus that he has had relations with other girls during his time at Notre Dame). They recognized what was going on for what it was — a terrible publicity stunt used to fuel Manti Te’o's Heisman campaign.

Moorehead also wrote that Te'o knew that his "relationship" got overblown—something his teammates sensed that "a long time prior."

More and more questions were asked about this fascinating story, and he kept answering them, calling Kekua “the love of his life”, even though he was digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself.

This is one of the more unusual stories that sports fans have seen in recent years. Trying to figure out who knew what, when they knew it and how this whole situation escalated without anyone putting the pieces together sooner is baffling. 

Te'o has a lot of questions that he still has to answer, though whether he will or not is up to him. That said, it is clear that his teammates did have their suspicions about this whole situation long before anything was made public.