I’m still not buying Te’o fable

The Hagueside of Sports

by Jim Hague

Follow him on twitter http://www.twitter.com/ogsmar


Manti Te’o has given interviews to ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap and Katie Couric of all people to try to explain the bizarre and even more confusing saga of his imaginary girlfriend and the way he was duped into a strictly Internet relationship.

I’ve listened to his words and tried to rationalize the whole thing. Only one problem. I just can’t.

I can’t buy the fact that this intelligent young man, who received an education at Notre Dame, could totally fall for this so-called prank and hoax.

I mean, we’re led to believe that T’eo never met the girl, but was madly in love with her, talked about marriage and was convinced that this was the love of his life.

Fall in love? Over the Internet? Without ever meeting? Happily ever after and all that? T’eo said that he had planned to meet the beautiful fraud known as Lennay Kekau, but it never came to fruition.

OK, so we’ll give T’eo the benefit of the doubt that he might have become smitten with the girl he never met. But when she first had this horrific accident that almost claimed her life, where was T’eo? He didn’t go to her bedside.

And when she was stricken with leukemia, again, where was T’eo? Still in South Bend. And when she finally died, where was T’eo? Again, not with her.

Don’t you think that if T’eo was madly in love with her and planned to marry her, he would have rushed to her bedside to be with her in her last moments? If that’s not a red flag about this, then nothing is.

T’eo also had all these voicemails from the alleged Lennay that he saved on his cell phone for years. Who saves voicemails like that? Hell, I’ve inadvertently deleted messages that I wanted to save. You have to be a total cell phone technician to keep messages that long. And once she allegedly died in September, would you want to keep the bad messages?

In all my 30-plus years of being a sportswriter, this is clearly the most bizarre and ridiculous fable I’ve ever heard. Either T’eo is the most naive and gullible fool that ever lived or he’s the most cunning genius to pull off such a hoax since Alexander Mundy on “To Catch a Thief.”

I honestly don’t know what to believe. Except one thing. T’eo was in on something before this story broke. He has lied several times and doesn’t seem too believable in these interviews. His Notre Dame teammates have expressed that they didn’t believe T’eo’s girlfriend even existed.

Could have T’eo contrived the whole thing in order to gain attention to try to win the Heisman Trophy? Who knows? One thing is for sure. He wouldn’t have finished in second place in the trophy balloting if he played at at any other school than Notre Dame. Even a linebacker at Alabama wouldn’t have received the votes that T’eo did.

And T’eo gained attention and was placed in the spotlight because of the dead girlfriend, the Hawaiian leis that were worn and waved at the Michigan game in honor of the dead girl, the game ball presentation after the Michigan State win, when head coach Brian Kelly gave T’eo the ball and said, “Bring this home and give it to Lennay.”

Hell, if I was a Notre Dame defensive football player and helped the Irish upend Michigan State along with T’eo and didn’t get a game ball and watched Kelly present a game ball to a ficticious woman, I’d want to kick T’eo’s Hawaiian ass all the way back to Honolulu.

We haven’t heard all of this yet. Apparently, the other guy involved with this so-called hoax is going on Dr. Phil later this week. Let’s face it, Aesop didn’t have fables like this one. It really takes the cake. I never even dreamed of something like this. One thing is for sure: It’s not over and I’m still not buying that T’eo was the innocent victim of a hoax.


Not tooting my own horn at all, but I hate to say “I told you so,” when it comes to that fraud Lance Armstrong.

I knew since 1998 that Armstrong was cheating, when I found out from some of his colleagues at the Goodwill Games at Wagner on Staten Island, an event that I worked.

One cyclist gave me details of the stuff that Armstrong was doing, like the blood doping, and said that “no cancer survivor with stage 4 anything could come back that quickly and cycle like that through the hills of France seven months later.”

Now we all know it was done by a cheating Armstrong, who is still a little too boorish and unrelenting in his ways even after admitted he was a fraud.

I feel horrible for the millions of cancer survivors who believed so steadfastly in Armstrong and wore the yellow “Livestrong” bracelets. It’s a shame that the excellent charity was based on the actions of a cheating, lying fraud.

As someone who worked at St. Peter’s College when both the men’s and women’s basketball teams were not only good, but were dominant, it’s sad to see that the current Peacock squads have combined to win a total of two MAAC contests this year.

That’s right, the men have won once inside the league. The women were 0-18 this season before defeating Manhattan for their lone win.

When I was the sports information director at Harvard on the Boulevard, those programs won 20 games every year and contended for the MAAC title every year.

Now, it’s a complete disaster. They have a new name in St. Peter’s University and a new way of losing every game.

The men’s team had great wins this season against Rutgers at the RAC, at Cornell and at LIU. They even beat Central Connecticut twice.

But to have only one win in a MAAC that is very top heavy, with good teams at the top and mediocrity throughout, is not acceptable.

The women being 1-18 is almost laughable, considering that legendary coach Mike Granelli would lose 18 total games over a five-year span. Never in the same season.

It’s sad to see the basketball programs at St. Peter’s University being so irrelevant these days. But that’s what they are.

You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.comwww.theobserver.com, andwww.dailyrecord.com. There’s a nice feature in the Hudson Reporter about the winning ways in Weehawken. Check it out.

Posted on January 29, 2013, in Jim Hague and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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