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!”
An account currently suspended tweeted that the Manti Te'o – Lennay Kekua story was a hoax — in December. pic.twitter.com/JWrCCgD2
— ن Mikey Ramone ن (@ThePantau) January 16, 2013
As Twitter user Justin Megahan tweeted, that wasn’t the only December outing of Manti Te’o’s phony Internet girlfriend.
Well looky here, a couple people who new Lennay was fake joking about it a month ago. https://t.co/A1tVGGUN
— Justin Megahan (@justinrmegahan) January 17, 2013
On Dec. 4, another Twitter account — with this story, we hesitate to call @jayRahz another person — indicated that Lennay’s existence was a hoax.
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]
After the Deadspin story was published and people started digging even more, @jayRahz and @ceeweezy51 defended themselves on Twitter.
EVERY TWEET @jayrahz and I had about Lennay Kekua were all jokes. We knew from the beginning she was fake!
— Celeste (@ceeweezy51) January 17, 2013
Yeah, well, hindsight and all that.
Another twist, via SBNation:
— Ryan Hudson (@ry_hudson) January 17, 2013
— Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (@ronaiahhh) May 17, 2011
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.
More investigative journalism has been done in one month on Manti Te'o than on the Obama admin in four-plus years #Fact
— Jeff Schreiber (@AmericasRight) January 17, 2013
We have a feeling they’ll tease apart this tangled web.