Manti Te'o hoaxed, according to 2 Twitter users from a month ago

Gregory Shamus

The Manti Te'o story will continue to get weirder and worse.

Update: One of the users from below has denied involvement in hoaxing Manti Te'o, pinning it on Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

Either Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was tricked into believing he was in a long-distance relationship with a girl who died from leukemia (as he and Notre Dame claim and as one former Stanford opponent believes), or he invented said girl. Or something in between. And then there's the question of motive, either on his part or the part of his tricksters or both. And then there's the question of how this all slipped past sports media for so long. And then there are other questions raised by any answers we might be able to come up with at any point in there.

One possible place to start (ht @wyshynski):

The two accounts in question, @jayRahz and @ceeweezy51, openly and repeatedly joked about hoaxing Te'o via the Lennay Kekua alias, at one point during the BCS National Championship.

Others appear to either have been in on it (or warm to the idea of looking like they'd been in on it), with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (named in Deadspin's story as "the man behind Lennay") mentioned frequently in their tweets, along with multiple references to Te'o being "Catfished," a la the film and TV series even Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick is now familiar with.

And then, from the day that the story broke:

Screen_shot_2013-01-16_at_9

Useful conclusions to be drawn from this right now are limited. It makes it easier to speculate that Te'o was actually duped, at least for a time. If this was indeed a hoax, the answer really might be just as simple as it seems:

Let's assume much more to come.

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