The sports world suffered a twitter-breaking case of shock and awe today with Deadspin’s piece detailing what appears to be the phony story concocted about the late girlfriend of Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o. While the American public and the media sure felt duped, one of Te’o’s teammates wasn’t surprised, telling PepperOnSports.com that the players on the Fighting Irish football team smelled something fishy back in September 2012.
The Notre Dame football player, who asked for anonymity, told Pepper On Sports, “No we all knew he had only seen her once. But when the media was saying how he went through both deaths we knew,” said the source, referring to the back-to-back deaths of Te’o’s grandmother and girlfriend Lennay Kekua, who allegedly died of Leukemia.
In defense of the Heisman Trophy candidate, the source said he believes the lie may have indeed started with somebody duping Te’o using a phony twitter account, and eventually, faking their own death.
Early in my conversation with the source, the Notre Dame player said, “He lied, but the media blew it up.” In response to my follow-up question asking if the source thought that Te’o kept the story going because of the media attention, the player replied, “Yeah. Right after the Michigan [State] game. He should have never brought her in the media. His grandma passing was enough.”
Notre Dame’s victory over Michigan State and subsequent media explosion appears to have been the turning point for the source and many of his teammates.
The source said while the players discussed their suspicions amongst themselves, they never confronted Te’o.
“We would never bring it up. But we would look at him when he would get all emotional during media about his girl,” the player said.
When asked if he thought Te’o was a good actor, the player replied, “Very good.”