Twitter Explodes as Manti Te'o Denies Involvement in Hoax

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Twitter Explodes as Manti Te'o Denies Involvement in Hoax

Days after one of the most bizarre stories in sports history was reported by Deadspin, Manti Te'o shed some more light on the story in an off-camera interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap.

On Jan. 16, Deadspin reported that the story of Te'o's girlfriend Lennay Kekua dying of Leukemia had been a hoax. As the shocking story spread, speculation and commentary ran rampant on Twitter, as its users wanted more answers from Te'o

Notre Dame responded the same day with a statement that Te'o had indeed been the victim of a hoax, and that he had alerted the school on Dec. 26 of the incident. According to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, an interview with Schaap was originally set to take place on Jan. 17 but was later scrapped.

With Te'o revealing more of his side of the story to Schaap, Twitter blew up with responses to the linebacker's off-camera interview. 


Associated Press reported that Te'o said he was not involved in the hoax. 

Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch speculated that Teo's team had dictated the parameters for the interview. 

Inquiring minds like Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network waiting to hear what Te'o had to say were frustrated by the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Maverick's overtime thriller. ESPN waited to reveal the details of the interview until the game was over. 

Brett McMurphy of ESPN reported that Te'o claimed that the hoax did affect his play in the national championship game. Notre Dame lost to Alabama 42-14.

Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated touched on a question that was on everyone's mind: why Te'o wouldn't at least Skype with Kekua. He also pointed out one of the better pieces of evidence that Te'o wasn't involved—he wasn't entirely convinced Kekua didn't exist until Jan. 16.

Brian Hamilton reported that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo called Te'o two days before the interview to apologize for the hoax.

For those still skeptical of Te'o's story, Bryan Fischer brought up a good point:

Even NBA star LeBron James got involved in the Te'o reaction. He chipped in a sentiment we can all agree on—this is an odd and bizarre story. 

With the NFL draft right around the corner, Te'o is likely about to have a lot of money come him. As National Post sports columnist Bruce Arthur pointed out, Te'o could very well be the target of many a scam in the future. 

NFL Network's Warren Sapp is still skeptical about Te'o's side of the story.

Te'o related that he just wants the story to simmer down. Does Stewart Mandel think that will happen? Nope. 

According to Richard Deitsch, Te'o had a girlfriend after the "passing" of Kekua. 

Chris Jones of Esquire summed up the whole story pretty well. 

Adam Kramer of the Kegs 'n Eggs blog shed light on the whole situation from Heisman winner Johnny Manziel's perspective. Probably. 

Count senior investigative reporter for Yahoo! Sports Charles Robinson among those still dubious of Te'o's story. 

Bomani Jones compared this crazy story to the Nancy Kerrigan/Tanya Harding scandal in 1994 and yes, this story is still more bizarre. 

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