My Theory

Disclaimer: THIS IS JUST MY THEORY. I know nothing. This is an outline of my impression of what happened based on the publicly available info I’ve reviewed the past 24 hours. No sources, no interviews, nothing proprietary informed this. I think I may be right, it’s my best guess.

Short Version:

1. Teo believed this was a real person. He was duped on that part. It’s sick and wrong and disturbing.

2. Teo had a real relationship (to him), online and on the phone with this ‘person’. He became close with ‘her’.

3. ‘She’ was never his girlfriend. Either he allowed the media to characterize in that way originally and ran with it, or he created that characterization for some reason. But ‘girlfriend’ in the literal sense was not true.

4. This means that Teo is a victim yes, but not completely blameless either.

Long Version:

Never once did I believe that this person was actually Manti Teo’s girlfriend. Yeah, you might not believe it when I say it, but it’s very true. When he talked about her, and their relationship, when this all first started coming out in the media, it just never felt real in the literal sense of the word. The way he spoke about her, the attitude and the words, never really rung true for me. But honestly, I didn’t think it mattered all that much because she had just passed away. So Manti had a long-time, childhood (my impression) friend that was really sick that he got close to. And when she passed, he called her his girlfriend. Or maybe the media did and he didn’t correct them. But when she really existed, this wasn’t a big deal. Perhaps he wanted to honor her with the title. Perhaps he wishes she had been his girlfriend. But it didn’t really matter all that much, because regardless the kid had just lost 2 people very close to him. And compassion requires us to not really care that much.

But I did think it was odd. Out of curiosity, that MSU week I googled her. I dug around for 15 minutes to learn more about the car accident and cancer, as I thought it was a sadly remarkable story. When I found nothing, I put it off as ‘eh, most people don’t get articles written about them when they get sick’ and let it go. Oops.

Now, with what we know, the lies and half-truths and momentum all intermingle. It’s difficult to know where truth ends and half-truths begin, where half-truths end and lies begin, and where lies end and planned/deliberate falsification of an entire narrative begins. For Manti, I think it ends with lies. Yes, I think Manti Teo lied about the type and level of his relationship with this girl. I do not think that he knew she didn’t exist. I do not think that he was ‘in on it’ in the way that many do. But Manti screwed up here. Perhaps not with sinister or self-serving intentions, but he screwed up nonetheless.

But ultimately, how we judge him and his character going forward has much more to do with the motivation behind said stories, rather than the concoctions themselves.

To wit: Motive.

Motive 1: Blow this story up so I can win the Heisman. If this is true, he has become the Enemy. If this is true, he took the heart and soul of a University, the trust of his community and family, and smashed it. If this is true, I am disillusioned and disheartened and angry. Let me state my theory: I do not believe this is true. I don’t think Manti Teo is some evil PR genius. 1. It seems so wildly out of character from everything else he has done 2. It seems completely implausible given his background, upbringing and resources and 3. It’s just too wildly outlandish (yes, I just said that despite the last 24 hours). I just don’t think it’s possible that Manti Teo planned to use his close-friend-that-was-a-girl’s death to propel Heisman fame.

Motive 2: Honor her memory. This one seems more plausible to me. Manti had gotten very close to this person, and as she was ‘dying’ they shared a lot of intimate things. While he never met her, he felt very close to her. He shared important time with her on the phone, twitter, and via email. He was invested emotionally. Then when someone characterized her as his girlfriend, his heart told him ‘yeah, that’s what she was’ and he went with it. (Or, again, he put it out there first, still not sure on that one) It’s not accurate in terms of the traditional definition, it’s not a fact, and it’s not ‘right’, but he did it anyway. And then the next week, someone asks him more about it, and he’s not sure what to do. I can’t backtrack now, can I? So he repeats, and digs a little deeper. Then ND starts winning, and the story gets bigger. Deeper. Then an interview, deeper. Then another. Deeper. Essentially, Manti had one chance to be clear about his relationship, and it slipped past, never to be regained.

Motive 3: Momentum. This is exactly the same happening as Motive 2 except the why it happened is different. In 2 it’s about his honoring a girl he really cared about. In this one, he’s just a young and naive college kid that let everything get away from him. The story built upon itself, and he was just trying to keep his head above water with it. This led to a number of lies, lies of omission or half-truths.

I really think it was 2 or 3, and if I had to guess it was 2 (with 3 following on). I don’t know, but this is what I think happened.

The Con:

Make no mistake, I believe Manti was conned. Catfished. Big time. I think he bought in hook, line and sinker as Tex said. I don’t believe for a second he was ‘in on it’. To believe that I would have to believe he is evil. I don’t think he is. To believe he was conned I have to believe he is very gullible/naive, and a bit thick. I find these, though still not great things to believe, more plausible. Think about it: this is a guy whose entire life is based on belief. Faith. He is not a critical, skeptical thinker. He’s relatively innocent, he’s relatively young, and he bought it. Those that think, at least based on evidence to date, that he was the mastermind behind the whole thing, have an agenda to push. Is it possible? Sure. But I see no evidence that leads to that. And Jack Swarbrick’s PC testimony lends a lot of credence to the case that he was duped. Jack is a smart, smart man. With resources.

The Result:

So what do we think about Manti Teo if I’m right? If he was duped, but played a part in sensationalizing and embellishing the nature of the relationship, although for a relatively innocent reason?

Well, number 1, the myth is shattered regardless. There’s no getting back the Manti we knew 2 days ago. That Manti is gone forever.

But do we villify? Do we attack? Do we hate? No. We don’t. We listen and try to gather as many facts as possible and we take theory to truth. And then we make our collective call as fans, haters, as society. But if I’m right, if this theory holds, we look at Teo yes, as a victim. And also as a guy that got in way over his head, and didn’t know what to do next. We look at him as a very fallible, very young, super naive kid that made one mistake and then tried to keep that story alive, for a ton of reasons. We look at him with sad eyes, not with angry ones. Because ultimately he made a mistake, and that’s about it. Just turns out it was a very big one that only became bigger and is now the biggest it could possibly be.

Regardless, the damage has been done. To Teo and his legacy, to ND and to the Football program. This is a PR and brand disaster for Notre Dame, and once again ND has a ton of work to do to rectify and regain trust and brand prestige. It will be a monumental task for Jack Swarbrick, Father Jenkins and BK. But it’s one that they will have to address head-on and fix as best they can over time.

For Teo, he will still be drafted, he will still make millions, and he will still be the guy that got duped by a Catfish. But he’ll never be the guy we all thought we had. The perfect person, student, and player that was an absolutely perfect and infallible representation of all that Notre Dame stands for.

Because, sadly folks, that guy never existed either.

————

But please, remember. Theory.

  • KyNDfan

    As far as the people that fabricated all this; why? What the hell do you have to gain from this?

    • NDtex

      Ever hear of the term “for the lulz”?

      People just do things to see if they can do them and get a laugh out of it. It might sound dumb, but that’s seriously all the reason some people use.

  • Alan Andrysiak

    Plausible theory, but on the facts currently in evidence, I believe your conclusions about Manti and the impact to the University and the football program (disaster) are overstated. Perhaps because I never placed Manti Te’o on a lofty pedestal, I see less impact to his legacy. He is a 21 year old kid who walked around the reflecting pool at the library–not across it.

    There is truth to the notion that good people get duped, and if it doesn’t kill them, they can grow stronger. I hope that this is the case for Manti, and that others see that but for the grace of God this could happen to them.

    If the story was furthered when he knew that it was a hoax, then the dynamic changes. I will wait to see on that.

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com The Biscuit

      I wrote and meant a PR/Brand disaster. It’s not ‘the end’ by any stretch. It’s not Penn State or anything close to it. But as a brand guy, this is a disaster. What happened, how it was handled, how it’s been handled (outside of Jack’s PC which was awesome) isn’t good. And that damage is done.

  • Alan Andrysiak

    I would like to hear from the perpetrators. When will this happen?

    • BW

      the twitter account that appears to be connected to the perp (could be santa, for all we know) claims a statement will be issued between 11 and noon pst

      • NDtex

        Read my post from earlier this morning. That account was created last night. It’s likely a fake.

        • BW

          yeah, just saw that. probably is santa.

  • BW

    Biscuit – I agree. I think you nailed it.

    That said, I’d like to propose the following:

    The various aspects/holes/half-truths/lies/what-have-you of this story can conveniently go either way in this case.

    Consider “Motive 2″ and “Motive 3″, in relation to who Manti Te’o is supposed to be. He supposedly wrote an unsolicited letter to a family with a dying child at one point this season; I read the article. The family supposedly reported this work of charity unbeknownst to Manti. If true, this seems like just the type of person who would fall for a “catfish”.

    Aside: I didn’t know what a “catfish” was until yesterday. It seems to me, however, that the connotation with a “catfish” is some idiot getting sucked in by potential lover that turns out to be a pervert grandpa or Chris Hansen. I’m not entirely sure that’s a fair portrayal of the Manti Te’o case. Anyway…

    When Swarbrick says Manti was the “perfect mark”, I believe him. It’s the classic Nigerian prince e-mail, except it was on social media. When I was in middle school, my friends and I created relationships with kids a few towns over via AOL Instant Messenger. They were kids we played in sports and their friends. Was this smart? Maybe not, but I think there is evidence that this happens in college too. You meet someone, you follow them on Twitter, you end up with more followers. I’m not one to follow players on Twitter, but some of the people I follow re-tweet messages between members of different teams. I think it happens.

    Enter Manti, who (given the benefit of the doubt) as a devout Mormon (I think this is important), will go out of his way to help people he doesn’t know. He probably wants to use his position as a football superstar to make an impact on people. All of the sudden, an attractive girl seeks him out via social media, sends him pictures, talks to him on the phone, apparently very much a real person.

    How do you hook him? He’s not interested in a potential lover. He’s a sucker for helping unfortunate people.

    Manti is a superstar, he faces the pressures of college as a devout Mormon (just guessing at what this dynamic may be), he wants to help, he doesn’t get good advice, any number of things could have happened. He spends entire nights on the phone with this person, who could be keeping him on the phone as a “dying wish”.

    I’m just saying, I think this is a possibility. I reiterate, I think you nailed it. I think someone needs to propose a version of what I’ve said here, however, to balance-out the public shaming that has taken place for the past 2 days. I feel like this is probably the best place to post this sort of things; I think your theory contains similar but more rational aspects to my theory.

    I could also be a way-off-the-mark, defending-everything-Notre-Dame-irrationally hopelessly-biased fan. I’m sure someone will tell me. You can spin the entire story, I just felt like no one had done it positively yet. It’s probably what Teo’s publicists are doing right now, come to think of it…

  • walt_71

    I agree with you, Biscuit. Particularly this: “Never once did I believe that this person was actually Manti Teo’s girlfriend….The way he spoke about her, the attitude and the words, never really rung true for me. But honestly, I didn’t think it mattered all that much because she had just passed away….And when she passed, he called her his girlfriend. Or maybe the media did and he didn’t correct them.”

    I always thought the way he spoke about her seemed a bit ‘off’. But I figured it was because he was uncomfortable talking about a close friend’s death on national TV…like we all would be. Now we know there was another reason.

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com The Biscuit

      Remember, I think it was because she wasnt his girlfriend, not because he knew she wasnt real.

      • walt_71

        Agreed. I had a feeling she wasn’t actually his “girlfriend” either, more of a friend who was a girl, but that the media called her his girlfriend and he went along. Actually, the first thing I did when this story broke was to re-watch the post-game interview from the MSU game. In my memory, he hadn’t referred to her as a girlfriend then, but the interviewer had. I was wrong, but that’s still the feeling I had: that the media had turned her from a friend into a girlfriend.

  • Paul

    Here’s a best case scenario theory:

    1. Someone sets up a twitter account as Lennay Kekua with a pretty picture, follows Te’o on twitter, and then private messages him: “Bumped into you on field after game at Stanford; you’re cute. Can I get a follow?”

    2. Te’o is flattered and follows the person posing as LK.

    3. Te’o and “LK” flirt on twitter.

    4. The Deadspin article claims that Te’o and LK became a couple in early 2012; Te’o’s grandfather died after a fight with cancer in January 2012. So, like a skilled con-artist, the person posing as “LK” preys on Te’o’s emotional vulnerability then to escalate the relationship into one of emotional intimacy. Perhaps Te’o feels like “LK” helped to support him during a trying time in his life.

    5. Te’o expresses an interest in meeting, but “LK” invents a serious injury from car accident to put him off. Te’o feels like he needs to support “LK” after she supported him through his grandfather’s death.

    6. “LK” invents leukemia diagnosis to continue to put off meeting with Te’o; I don’t want you to see me like this. As a con-artist, a subtle move to play on Te’o’s feelings about his grandfather’s death. In addition, Te’o’s grandmother is now dying from a lengthy illness. “LK” and Te’o lean on each other during their trials, deepening the emotional intimacy.

    7. Con-artist pulls plug on the relationship by killing “LK” at same time Te’o’s grandmother dies.

    8. Te’o – a naive, sheltered 21 year-old – who was in a truly emotionally intimate relationship with someone online, whom he probably thought of as a girlfriend, due psychologically conflates that with romantic love due to his two-fold grief; he goes on to speak of her that way.

    9. Con-artist resents the positive coverage Te’o received after, and decides to shatter Te’o’s world by revealing the deception.

    So, what’s left is to account for the details about them meeting: When his parents ask if Te’o has a girlfriend, he tells them about LK; when they ask how they met, he tells them that they bumped into each other on the field as LK claimed. When they ask about dates he has been on with LK, Te’o is embarrassed by the online nature of the relationship and lies that they met when he was home. (Incidentally, there is no mention of the number of times LK and Te’o met.)

    If you read Eric Hansen’s article, which seems to be the dominant source for information about the relationship Te’o had with LK, it is Brian Te’o, Manti’s dad, that is quoted in the article. It’s hard to find specific quotes from Te’o on the circumstances of his relationship with LK. So, you have the father filling in the color on his son’s story.

    The last bit that would be important towards this theory, is whether Te’o sent the white roses he claimed to have sent.

    I think this theory is in line with motive 2, but Te’o comes out more honest, but more of a dupe.

  • domer03

    I know that we are probably all going to say something like this, and all appear to be rewriting history, but I must say that I was skeptical of this relationship. I will add this caveat, though: by about Oct. 1st or so I was totally convinced that my own perception was just off.

    Let me explain. When the whole story broke, obviously one couldn’t help but feel sympathy for the kid, but also be a bit surprised. We knew a lot about Manti, and the term “girlfriend” had never cropped up. But, whatever. I figured he had a right to privacy. But then we get to gameday – he doesn’t go to the funeral, okay. But there were no reports of him going to the grave site, perhaps in the days following. That struck me as odd. And while I admired his single-mindedness, I did find it a bit strange that we were aggrandizing this incredibly stoic – sociopathic? – behavior.

    All of these thoughts went through my head in the days and weeks around the MSU game. But it seemed really cruel to voice such skepticism. And as things unfolded I slowly came to accept that this was just a difficult part of his life, and that he handled the tragedy in a way that was essentially the antithesis of what I would have done. And so, by Oct. 1st I was as engrossed in the story as everyone else.

    I can only speak for myself, but I’m taking this as a personal lesson in credulity. When my BS alarm goes off, do some serious googling.

  • Paul
  • sunnyblack

    What about 2009 ? He met her after the game at Stanford.
    They tangled glances, shook hands, exchanged cell phone numbers.

    Or was that the Inception part of it.

    You’re all deluded.Teo didn’t get Catfished.

    Teo Catfished America.

    Notre Dame was always overrated. They’ve been overrated ever since Lou Holtz and Tony Rice left. Deal with it.

    • http://www.ndnation.com irishize

      First, Jim “Catfish” Hunter; now, Manti “Catfish” Teo.

    • NDtex

      So you have one lie that Manti didn’t even tell. That would be his dad.

      So either Manti and his family are totally awful people or his dad thought he was just giving his son a better story than “oh they just met online”.

      Use Occam’s Razor please.

    • ND06_NAVY

      I will get over it when America and the media get over it, sunnyboy! You need to stop being a hater and embrace it. ND, the football team, university, institution, brand name and its spirit are here to stay. Thanks, however, for partaking in the discussion, but notice all of Her Loyal Sons (and daughters) that will beg to differ here … you picked a heck of a blog on which to post your ND “hatorade.”

    • DenverIrish

      Nice segue into your real point. ND is overrated. Thanks for sharing. Hadn’t heard that recently. Maybe I should give you credit for not saying “ND is irrelevant” what with the 24/7 coverage on this hoax.

      …and tangled glances, shook hands, etc., didn’t come from Teo.

    • GB

      We all got “catfished” once. We won’t get catfished by a troller.

  • Yo Yo Mama

    I don’t care for the portrayal of him as a liar because he called this person his gf. Do we know what was said between them? Given the amount of time he allegedly spent with “her,” I’m sure he saw it that way. It sure would be hard for “her” to spend a ton of time with someone else…

    So is he dumb for not seeing through so many failed encounters with “her” over this period of time? Of course. I believe Manti was in love with the IDEA of a girl he had put together after so many messages. Women do this all the time – his name is Nicholas Sparks. The difference is they realize it’s all fiction because it is presented as such from the beginning. Te’o got sucked in and overlooked the now obvious clues.

    It doesn’t make him a bad guy; it doesn’t make him a liar – unless he says he met her and did XYZ with her. I feel bad for the guy and just want this month to end.

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com The Biscuit

      Yo Yo, again, this is my theory. I don’t know it. It’s my guess. If my theory is correct, then Teo lied about the relationship. If not, he didn’t and therefore isn’t a liar. I made that pretty clear up front that this was conjecture. But if my theory is right, he did lie.

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com The Biscuit

      PS – I don’t like that I wrote it either. Made me sick.

  • GB

    Any news about recruits?

  • ML ’07

    Excellent post. Your theory – completely understood its just a theory – really makes sense. Or, at least, as much sense as any of this can make. I think you perfectly articulated what many an alum or ND fan is thinking right now – how do we reconcile the man, the myth, of Manti that we feel like we’ve come to know so well with the sheer chaos and absurdity of the past two days? I find your thoughts compelling – he’s both guilty and innocent, but most likely his guilt was not driven by malicious motives. As hard as it can be to give someone the benefit of the doubt (myself included), at the end of the day, we have to remember he’s a college senior. God (and the Backer Pole) knows none of us were perfect then.

    • ML ’07

      Second sentence: “it’s” not “its.” And no comma needed after “myth.” Mantfishgate has officially liquified my brain.

      • http://www.herloyalsons.com The Biscuit

        I wrote this in 20 minutes. Sue me.

        • NWohioND

          Classic…

  • Jack

    No mentions of him knowing the Ronnie Tuiasasopo guy who clearly created the whole thing? How the hell could you tell people that your girlfriend died of cancer, when you had never even met her, even worse after you knew it was just someone posing online? You are saying he is just some naive little college kid who got in too deep with a lie? If he is truly just a victim in this case he would have to be one of the dumbest men ever. If he he is just a victim in this case, it speaks pretty low of the kind of people allowed into Notre Dame. If this happened to any other school this website would be BLASTING their academics.

    • http://www.herloyalsons.com The Biscuit

      What’s your definition of ‘knowing’? A few tweets? Not mine.

      And yes, he was naive. Silly. Not smart. But he’s also a wildly trusting individual. I’m not going to blast that. Everyone else is doing it anyway.

      • BW

        read the book of mormon and then tell me an online relationship isn’t a miniscule leap of faith for a devout mormon

  • Jack

    Fair enough on him ‘knowing’ the Tuiasosopo character, but the two had at the very least contacted each other. But I think this clearly goes beyond ‘naive’ and ‘wildly trusting’. Naive and trusting would be dating a real person (you know, one that you can see) for over a year while they did something suspicious, like steal money or cheat. I mean if we are going with the victim angle here he dated some series of text messages, tweets and possibly phone calls for over a YEAR without once seeing the person? He never once looked into a record of her, asked for a video chat, a request to see her in person? Yet was so emotionally attached he called her his girlfriend? This whole story is quite bizarre, and I think Notre Dame and the community have jumped to his side as dangerously quickly as the haters have gone all-in on the attack. Where did Brian Te’os comments come from? The stories of them seeing each other in person?

  • jw

    Not an ND fan, but this was well written and thought out. I tend to believe that he didn’t create this but also didn’t fight it either. This makes sense. Well done.

  • Terry

    FYI – I am 69 years old, went to ND but did not graduate. I still love the place, I am counting the days to NSD, then the spring game, then opening day of the 2013 season.

    Your statement “ND has a ton of work to do to rectify and regain trust and brand prestige.”

    I don’t really know what ‘brand prestige’ is and from the sound of it I wouldn’t care if I did know.

    ‘Trust’ – It’s gone – ND will never get it back.

    Notre Dame used to be the flagship of Catholic universities in this country. Among other things it was the place where 1st and 2nd generation immigrants sent their children for a step up on the American dream with a solid CATHOLIC foundation. That is no longer the case and has not been for some time.

    I remember about 12 years ago when I was living in Indiana that the opening night for (what was then) the annual series of performances of the play ‘The Vagina Monologues’ was Ash Wednesday in Washington Hall. Some friends and I wanted to pass out small fliers in the Basilica to protest this but we were told – politely but firmly – that this could not be done.

    The awarding of a degree to President Obama 4 years ago – another sad chapter in this story.

    Declan Sullivan – I am not blaming anyone personally for what happened. But ND in one of its statements said “no one person can be held responsible.” This to me is another way of saying that there was no one one there with the authority to say “it’s too windy to go up – nobody goes up today. If anyone has a problem with that talk to me.” That to me is negligence. Not by any means purposeful, but nevertheless negligence. (I have experience – I worked in construction for 36 years, 3 of which were in the South Bend area and there was ALWAYS someone on the site with the unchallengeable authority to say – no one goes up today.)

    Notre Dame has been humiliated, so these are halcyon days for those who hate Notre Dame. But that will pass.

    Lent is just around the corner, and it has been proven many times over that a little humility goes a long way.

    What’s next?

  • Terry

    Some people are going to hate me for this, but here goes.

    Given the almost unbelievable amount of (internet) ink being spilled to cover this sad, silly story – how many of you there in cyberland care about why the Obama administration didn’t provide security for our Embassy in Benghazi prior to 9/11/12?

    An American ambassador is murdered by Islamic terrorists, the President describes it as a ‘bump in the road’, heads to Vegas the night after the murder for a fundraiser and life goes on.

    A 22 year old kid, fine football player, etc. is duped by some serious creeps (or was he part of it?) and even david letterman, graduate of ball state, feels he has to comment on it.

    Notre Dame has had 11 REALLY rough days. I sincerely pray that they will emerge from this with a bit more humility than is their wont.

  • Atlantadomer

    I know folks won’t believe me, but I literally turned to my wife during the MSU game when Musberger and Herbstreit mentioned his losing “a friend”, then later in the broadcast, it was still “a friend”, then it became “his girlfriend”. They seemed very reticent to put that moniker on her, but then in my mind, it was forced on them (tv people “What a great story!!!”) So I believe he believed she existed, then all this stuff starts – honestly, what man with an ounce of compassion would ever want to go on tv and say, “No I didn’t really know this girl or feel that way about her…” He thought that she was gone, and why not give her family a comfortable memory, especially with the way she seemingly cared for him. If he thought the grave was real, he certainly isn’t the kind of kid to piss on it, now is he?

  • true2nd

    “The perfect person, student, and player that was an absolutely perfect and infallible representation of all that Notre Dame stands for.

    Because, sadly folks, that guy never existed either.”

    That is the problem with society. We build these people up to be more than a football player for Notre Dame. If this was Joe Schmo, nobody would give a s*it. Great write-up.

  • Davie Dave 40

    My only nagging questions centers on something presumably very important to Manti, faith. Faith brought him to ND, faith has led his life, faith in all above led him to love, on and on and on. Where was his faith in his team?

    In hindsight this situation trumps any edge on the field that the Alabama offense had over our lads. Manti’s mind was nowhere even close to South Beach on Jan. 7. His play showed it. We all wondered what had happened and now we know. But, what would have happened if his brothers on the field had known what was going on? Yes he was embarrassed and felt like a complete ass. Well the same thing happens when you trip on a shoelace during practice. Sure they laugh and you have to spend an hour getting the knots out of the 25 pairs of shoes in your locker the next morning, but the laughter dies and someone with a gold helmet is there to help you up.

    I think he should have had a little more faith in this team.

  • http://gravatar.com/tjak2 tjak

    I remember thinking in November that Manti was almost to good to be true. If anything this has been good to remind us that there are no perfect people, no matter how much we want it so. Manti has the complete benefit of the doubt with me until he speaks, I believe that he has earned that.

  • RM ’65

    “BW” points out an important aspect to the story. If anyone has contacts in Utah you can verify that a type of scam/confidence game occurs there more frequently than other places in the country. It is usually attributed to to the trusting, innocent culture. That may also be the case in Manti’s community in Hawaii.

  • NWohioND

    Teo on espn just confirmed many thoughts…lied to his dad and thus why Brian Teo said they met…Manti went with this due to possible embarrassment…Teo still a legend….

    • http://gravatar.com/tjak2 tjak

      Agreed!!!

  • tlndma

    From the begining I never thought things were quite right with this story either. I didn’t think the girl didn’t exist, I just felt Manti might be playing it up just a little. I didn’t think he even had to have a motive. At the time to have said anything contrary to the storyline didn’t seem to be worth the while and wrath that would come down.
    Anyways, in hindsight Manti’s failings in this and those of his family’s were purely human(pride and not wanting embarassment) and in no way evil.