Linebacker Manti Te’o, Tebowing during one of his games.
“Catfish” are everywhere, folks. And, sometimes, you reel in one so large that it affects not only the two people involved, but an entire community. As in, the entire American sports community and, by extension, its millions of loyal fans. Kiiind of a big deal, wouldn’t you say? Thankfully, Internet hoax expert Nev Schulman is already barking up trees to get the real story surrounding Manti Te’o, the famous college football player involved in a scandal that’s taken on a life of its own overnight.
Last night, Deadspin broke the news that the Notre Dame linebacker’s heartbreaking story of love and loss, which subsequently made him a hero among football fans, is all a big ol’ LIE. Fair warning, the story is a complicated one, but we’ll try to explain as best as we can:
Te’o's supposed girlfriend, who had tragically died from Leukemia, was actually a man (who knew Manti) named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Ronaiah created at least two false online profiles–one for this “girlfriend,” Lennay Kekua, and one for her “sister.” Lennay’s fake sister’s Twitter account featured photos of a woman named Donna Tei, an innocent pawn who ultimately reached out to Nev for help.
Nev, being the altruistic “Catfish” hunter he is, jumped on the chance to get to the bottom of this nutso tale. “I am working on finding out more about this @MTeo_5 #Catfish story. I have been in contact with the woman involved and will get the truth,” he tweeted last night. And this morning, he followed up with a more empathetic tweet to Te’o, saying “.@MTeo_5 I know how you feel. It happened 2 me. I want 2 help tell ur story & prevent this from happening to others in the future. Lets talk.” Manti has yet to respond to Nev’s olive branch, but we’re holding out hope. One fan summed up the whole debacle in a pretty concise tweet, saying “i feel like I’m watching a live show of #catfish.” Live “Catfish”?! Uh, we think we just found the hook for Season 2…
+ What do you think is going on??? Check out the “Guy Code” cast’s take on the matter and see what Nev has to say in the MTV News interview below. Plus, share your theories in the comments, and help us figure out the mystery of Manti’s fake…life.
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Photo: Getty Images