ESPN reportedly sat on the story of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s fake girlfriend for 10 days before Deadspin exposed the hoax on Wednesday. A Notre Dame spokesman said the school learned that Te’o’s deceased girlfriend “Lennay Kekua” wasn’t real on Dec. 26 when Te’o explained he was the “victim” of a hoax.

But as Twitchy reported yesterday, the news was floating around Twitter even earlier. On Dec. 3, a now-suspended Twitter user with the [email protected] tweeted, “Do a background check and you’ll see that not only did Lennay Marie Kekua not die, she never existed!”

As Twitter user Justin Megahan ‏tweeted, that wasn’t the only December outing of Manti Te’o’s phony Internet girlfriend.

On Dec. 4, another Twitter account — with this story, we hesitate to call @jayRahz another person — indicated that Lennay’s existence was a hoax.

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/276073152432447488

BuzzFeed notes that “Titus Tuiasosopo, the father of Ronaiah, who Deadspin pointed to as the perpetrator of the hoax, is a pastor.” And Deadspin reported that “Te’o and Tuiasosopo definitely know each other.”

@jayRahz continued to tweet about the hoax in December and early January, sometimes with Twitter [email protected]

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/278973792544505858

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/279014369482919937

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/288495738856558594

So, [email protected] [email protected] in on the hoax? Are they even real? Are we real? Minds blown!

After the Deadspin story was published and people started digging even more, @jayRahz and @ceeweezy51 defended themselves on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/291783250685349888

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/291783880841785344

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/291784129090056192

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/291784379234123776

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/291784953132376064

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/291785578431782912

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/291786614420688896

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/291789666250788865

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/291790365713915904

Yeah, well, hindsight and all that.

https://twitter.com/jayRahz/status/291791186027491329

Another twist, via SBNation:

The media are a lot more interested in the bizarre story of Te’o’s imaginary girlfriend than digging into Benghazi and other stories of import.

We have a feeling they’ll tease apart this tangled web.

  • BorderLine Guy

    Haven’t followed this in-depth, but looking at HER twitter feed shows that on Nov 6th, Manti tweeted that he missed her, then she (being dead since September) somehow retweeted that tweet. Weird as hell to tweet to a dead person in the first place, but getting a retweet would raise a red flag.

    • tgrfan42069

      thats easy to explain though.the hoaxer could easily say they are a family member on “her” account.i myself think te’o was in on it.

    • Alexben824

      Nah that’s def not the case. What happened is that the original LennayKay account was deleted making that twitter name available again. So some troll snagged up the name on the 16th and retweeted those old tweets from Te’o. The date on the retweets is the date of the original tweet, not the date of the retweet. Plus look at the most recent tweet on the LennayKay twitter, that “statement” is obviously a joke.

  • Ariadnea

    Many people make this a big deal with someone who does not even affect American’s day to day living, while Obama’s composite girlfriend and secretary get a pass. This guy is just copying your President’s propensity for making up and imagining a big part of his life. Don’t tell me this guy originate from Hawaii too?

  • Insubordinate

    Why was the Notre Dame AD in tears today when it’s obvious the University knew of the hoax long ago? CatFishy.

  • George Washington Mclintock

    I just feel bad for the dude. I mean, it would be one thing if he was after attention,,affection, money, whatever, but he is one of top college athletes in the nation, and he’ll be in the NFL in a year. He doesn’t have to swindle his way into people’s hearts, or attention, or wallets. This is not Lance Armstrong seeking to preserve ill-gotten wins. , WHatever happened, Te’o’s never going to hear the end of it. Deadspin shouldn’t really be that proud of themselves for humiliating this dude. And yeah, compared to what else is going in the world, why should anyone care?