MIAMI (CBSNewYork) – A source told ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” that hoaxers continued to harass Manti Te’o two days before the BCS National Championship game in Miami.
According to Te’o, the hoaxers claimed to be in the Notre Dame team hotel lobby and sent him photos of the lobby at 11 p.m. on January 5. They wanted to meet with Te’o, but it was after the team’s curfew.
By that point, Te’o knew it had been a hoax and responded with a message — “I just want to see you. Look at you square in the face and just be done with this thing. Just erase everything so I know the truth.”
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick has stood behind Te’o. He confirmed last week that Te’o received a call from someone claiming to be his fake deceased girlfriend Lennay Kekua. The hoaxer called Te’o and told him she had faked her death to evade drug dealers and wanted to “restart the relationship.”
Te’o was unconvinced and demanded that the caller sent a photo with a time stamp on it to prove she was alive. When Te’o received the photo, he remained unconvinced and sought family and coaches for advice.
The Notre Dame fan living in Southern California whose photos were being used by the hoaxers continued to be stalked herself by the group who demanded new photos to send to Te’o. The California girl hadn’t even met the hoaxers in person and the photos sent to Te’o were being taken from her social media accounts.
She received texts and phone calls from a person claiming to be U’ilani Kekua, the supposed sister of Lennay who demanded photos to send to Te’o to “help him.” The source does not wish to be identified through fear of retribution.
Te’o claimed that the hoax did not affect his play in Notre Dame’s 42-13 national championship defeat to Alabama. He identified the hoax ringleader to be Ronaiah Tuiasosopo to ESPN’s Jeremy Schapp off-camera.
Do you believe Te’o was an innocent victim? Share your thoughts on the bizarre hoax below…