Manti Te'o's Fake Dead Girlfriend Was a Man
It's doubtful I will ever be able to write a better Outkick the Coverage headline than: Manti Te'o's Fake Dead Girlfriend Was a Man.
With the New York Post's revelations today that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo pretended to be a girl for hundreds of hours of phone conversations with Manti Te'o, the weirdest story in college football history has taken another ridiculous twist. It turns out that Manti Te'o's fake dead girlfriend was actually a guy.
And that Te'o never knew this.
Yes, this really happened.
With the latest revelation, we've narrowed down this mystery to two options: Either Manti Te'o is gay or he's the dumbest Notre Dame grad of all time.
These are the only two options.
Let's dive into the latest Te'o mess and try to make some sense of it all.
1. Is Te'o the dumbest Notre Dame graduate of all time?
This is one hypothesis for how this entire mess developed, Te'o is just really, really dumb.
On top of being dumb he's also naive, unable to distinguish a woman from a man's voice despite over five hundred hours of hours of phone conversations, and probably someone is doing all of his work for him at Notre Dame to keep him eligible to play football.
I just find it impossible to believe that Te'o is this dumb.
Consider the following: you meet someone online who claims to be a hot girl, yet every time you ask to Facetime or Skype with that person he/she claims he/she can see you fine but you just can't see them, the person makes plans to meet with you, but then never shows up at the meetings, he/she claims to be in an awful traffic accident and later die of leukemia, yet all you have to prove that person ever existed is a couple of random photographs.
All the while you spend over five hundred hours with them on the phone.
And you never think that the person you're speaking with might be fake?
To accept this hypothesis as true either Tuiasosopo is the greatest voice actor of his generation, or Te'o is the dumbest Notre Dame graduate of all time.
I'm going with the latter.
2. Stop with the, "He just got catfished, it happens."
Inevitably, the most diehard Notre Dame fans are like, "This could happen to anybody, he just got fooled."
No, this could not happen to anybody.
This could only happen to a really dumb, really gullible, amazing idiot.
Lots of people can be fooled by a prank or a short-lived online fakery, there are not very many people with decent IQs who are capable of falling for what Te'o fell for. So stop with the, "This happens all the time," argument. No, this doesn't happen all the time. Especially not for guys like Te'o with abundant in the flesh female options. It's not like he was serving life in prison at Angola.
3. We need to hear what Tuiasosopo sounds like when he pretends to be a girl.
This would be great live television, Tuiasosopo pretending to be a girl on the Today show while talking with Matt Lauer? Who isn't watching that interview? In fact, could we put Tuiasosopo on pay-per-view now? I'm buying it. Especially if Manti is on with him. We absolutely have to hear his voice.
Because right now I find it completely implausible that a man could sound just like a girl for thousands of phone calls and you woudn't have a single clue that he was actually a man.
Not one slip up? Not one masculine cough? Not one deep voice breaking out amidst the falsetto.
Come on, this is completely ludicrous. (Could Tuiasosopo be lying about playing the role of a girl to protect a girl from being revealed? I guess so, but there was only one number, right? Was he with her all the time passing the phone back and forth? This seems pretty unlikely. Plus, would he really want to lie about his amazing ability to sound like a girl?)
Which brings me back to my original question, was this an eloborate ruse to allow a gay relationship to exist?
4. Is Te'o gay?
This is our second hypothesis, and the one that I think actually makes the most sense.
At this point it's pretty damn clear that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is gay and he was probably in love with Te'o. Tuiasosopo's motivations now are actually readily apparent -- he was just a guy in love with another guy.
The most confusing thing about Ronaiah Tuiasosopo at this point is how to spell his name; his motivations are crystal clear. We've asked what the motivation would be to fake this relationship for a week now, well, now we all know -- Tuiasosopo was in love with Te'o.
But what about Manti Te'o?
It's a whole hell of a lot easier for me to buy that Manti Te'o is gay than it is for me to buy that he's this incredibly stupid.
I wrote this last week about Te'o, and it makes even more sense in light of today's revelation:
"Te'o being gay is actually the only story that makes any sense at all. And even if it's true, Te'o will probably deny it because, unfortunately, football players aren't exactly the most welcoming of homosexuality.
Otherwise, how are you the star player on a football crazy campus and having an online-only relationship with a woman you've never met? Even Tim Tebow thinks this is ridiculous. If you're gay and girls are throwing themselves at you left and right but you continue to rebuff their advances, isn't one of the easiest stories to tell your teammates about why you don't hook up with any of these girls that you have a girlfriend?
Even if, you know, that girlfriend isn't actually real.
Couldn't being gay even make you more than willing to overlook the fact that your girlfriend didn't want to meet with you? It might be that on some subconscious level Te'o welcomed the hoax because it kept him from having to explain why he didn't have a girlfriend. Furthermore, given that Te'o is Mormon and attending a very religious school, wouldn't being gay be unacceptable to pretty much everyone around him? Having an online girlfiend is an awfully convenient cover.
Again, this is just speculation and Te'o would probably deny it anyway, but it actually makes a ton more sense than any other wild theories being tossed out there, that Te'o used the online relationship as a cover for his hidden homosexuality. If this was true, I wish he'd just come out, I think most sports fans would welcome the revelation. (And some people are going to criticize me for writing about this, but it's the elephant in the room here that everyone is talking about, so I'm going to write it. Nothing in this story makes sense. And Te'o's lies as well as Notre Dame's cover-up of those lies, make everything fair game.)"
Again, it makes a lot more sense to me that Te'o's gay than that he's this stupid.
The fact that the vast majority of media won't even discuss this option makes it appear that being gay is something to be ashamed of.
5. How stupid is Notre Dame?
They trotted out athletic director Jack Swarbrick to back up all of Manti Te'o's story after conducting an "investigation" that turned out to be a "Google search." Notre Dame didn't interview a single person, didn't review any emails or social media messages or any phone records.
Yet their athletic director called a press conference about Manti Te'o's fake dead girlfriend -- who turned out to be a man -- and said that he was being 100% truthful.
This might be the most ridiculous decision of all.
It's certainly Te'o level stupid.
Because at least Te'o and Tuiasosopo could just be stupid college kids in love, we're talking about the entire university agreeing to attach its name and reputation to this story. Jack Swarbrick and Notre Dame made a stupid decision when they chose not to take this story public immediately after they became aware of it.
So now that we're a week into the story, what do you think of our final two hypotheses: is Te'o incredibly stupid or gay?
When you consider all the facts, there really aren't any other options.