Print and Go Back Fandom - ESPN Playbook [Print without images]

Thursday, January 17, 2013
On the trail of Te'o saga, one tweet at a time

By DJ Gallo

Manti Te'o
Will we ever know the whole story of Manti Te'o, Notre Dame's man of mystery?
Sooooooooo … has anyone heard this Manti Te’o story? You know, the one about the star Notre Dame linebacker who had a fake girlfriend who fake-died?

Yeah, that one.

If you haven’t heard about it, look it up on the Internet -- but avoid the vast made-up part of the Internet that Te'o frequented.

Right now there are far more questions than answers. Was Te’o an innocent, and incredibly na´ve, victim? Was he initially a victim who later used the fake death to help build his legend? Was he involved from the start?

All we do know is that Te’o had an online relationship. And the one online record of Te’o’s we all have access to is his Twitter account. I looked back through a season’s worth of Te’o tweets to see if there were any answers to be found. Unfortunately, this research only produced more questions.

I finally got verified!!!!

— Manti Te'o (@MTeo_5) December 6, 2012

What steps did Twitter take to verify Manti Te’o’s existence? Did they ever meet him? Did they see a birth certificate? Is this really even Manti Te’o’s Twitter account? Is there a Manti Te’o? Who is behind Twitter?

Thanks for all the love and support you all have shown. Proud to be #Irish

— Manti Te'o (@MTeo_5) November 30, 2012

Manti Te’o was reportedly born Jan. 26, 1991, in Hawaii. He is – again, supposedly – of Polynesian descent. What is this “proud to be Irish” business? Is it a reference to the Fighting Irish? Maybe, but do we really know anything about Te’o at this point? Don’t we have to question it all? Is he really from Ireland? Is he pretending to be from Ireland? Is his actual name Manti O’Te? So many questions.

If you're gonna talk the better be willing to walk the walk.

— Manti Te'o (@MTeo_5) December 21, 2012

A good rule of thumb in online relationships. If your serious girlfriend will talk to you, but is unwilling to ever meet to go for a walk, she may not be real. Did Te’o’s fake girlfriend say she was unable to walk due to her fake disease? What fake diseases leave the legs fake paralyzed? Is there a fake cure? Can we donate fake money for fake research?

Leave no stone left unturned!

— Manti Te'o (@MTeo_5) October 29, 2012

Another good tip for online relationships. The “Are you real?” and “Do you exist?” stones are pretty important ones to turn over. Also, “Do you have Skype?” is a good one. Did Te’o only learn all of these life lessons after his fake girlfriend fake-died?

The worst thing you can do is fool yourself!

— Manti Te'o (@MTeo_5) November 21, 2012

Is this really the worst thing you can do? Is fooling other people worse? What if the other people are fake? Is it possible to fool a fake person? Do we pity the fool? What is Mr. T’s real name? Who is B.A. Baracus? What's with all the initials? What is he hiding?

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?Mark 8:36#perspective

— Manti Te'o (@MTeo_5) November 5, 2012

Do fake people have souls? Do they go to fake heaven? Do dogs go to heaven? What about fake cartoon dogs?

Just watched the @katyperry movie! I'm a big fan!

— Manti Te'o (@MTeo_5) October 27, 2012


Wheels down in NYC with my boy @mteo_5 looking forward to the weekend!…

— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) December 7, 2012

Te’o retweeted this tweet from Johnny Manziel -- a player who is known to go by an alias: Johnny Football. Is this Manziel, or whatever his name is, in on the hoax? Does anyone in college football really exist? What about the Big East?

Mantis Te'o is a stud.

— Ricky Watters (@RickyWatters) October 28, 2012

What the ... ? Is Manti Te’o really an insect? Perhaps an insect from Ireland who plays American football? Is former Notre Dame running back Ricky Watters in on a cover-up that a half-man/half-insect played college football? Are insect people allowed to play NCAA football? Could Notre Dame face sanctions for playing an insect? Is this the most bizarre story ever?

Merry Christmas everyone!

— Manti Te'o (@MTeo_5) December 25, 2012

Christmas. Manti Te’o. Hmm.

Christmas. Santa. Manti Te’o. Hmmmmmm.

Does Te’o know that Santa is a hoax? Was Te’o involved in duping millions of children about the existence of some fat, gift-giving man he never even met? This scandal may go all the way to the top. Of the globe. To the North Pole.