Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could keep lies from conquering the minds of the weak. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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That's one way to use a beer bong, we suppose:
What I will tell you, this was exclusively an online relationship. ... When I first talked to Manti on the 27th about this and we went through it and I asked him to take me to the beginning, he began by saying we met on. I said, what do you mean you met on? It was an online meeting. He used the verb "we met," and he was referring to an online meeting. He responded to an online inquiry. That was the first time he met her. And as part of the hoax, several meetings were set up where Lennay never showed, including some in Hawaii.
Sorry. Te'o is a first-team academic All-American. Sure, he's still young and perhaps naive. But nobody in their right mind would be duped for this long.
Read the entire Swarbrick transcript.
Then go back and read the entire Deadspin report.
Then tell us: Was Te'o a victim or a co-conspirator in all of this?
We're a little early with the final post of the day, but whoa!
In one of the bigger bombshell stories we've read in a while, Deadspin reported this afternoon in a lengthy story that Manti Te'o's supposed girlfriend -- the one who was said to have died of leukemia around the same time his grandmother died, adding to the narrative and legend of the Notre Dame linebacker's season -- is a complete hoax.
Here are a few grafs. But please do read the whole thing:
Did you enjoy the uplifiting story, the tale of a man who responded to adversity by becoming one of the top players of the game? If so, stop reading.
Manti Te'o did lose his grandmother this past fall. Annette Santiago died on Sept. 11, 2012, at the age of 72, according to Social Security Administration records in Nexis. But there is no SSA record there of the death of Lennay Marie Kekua, that day or any other. Her passing, recounted so many times in the national media, produces no obituary or funeral announcement in Nexis, and no mention in the Stanford student newspaper.
Nor is there any report of a severe auto accident involving a Lennay Kekua. Background checks turn up nothing. The Stanford registrar's office has no record that a Lennay Kekua ever enrolled. There is no record of her birth in the news. Outside of a few Twitter and Instagram accounts, there's no online evidence that Lennay Kekua ever existed.
The photographs identified as Kekua—in online tributes and on TV news reports—are pictures from the social-media accounts of a 22-year-old California woman who is not named Lennay Kekua. She is not a Stanford graduate; she has not been in a severe car accident; and she does not have leukemia. And she has never met Manti Te'o.
Crazy, crazy story.
UPDATE: Notre Dame put out a statement via its football media relations director:
"On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te'o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators."
If you don't immediately think of The Karate Kid 2 when you read that headline, something is wrong with you.
Ahem, but the story, per ESPN.com:
A "flat-out brawl" broke out in USC's football locker room after the Trojans' 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, multiple sources have told ESPN.
The altercation, earlier reported by the Los Angeles Daily News, began when one of the team's younger players was "bad-mouthing Matt Barkley." The player questioned why the injured quarterback did not play and challenged USC's collective senior leadership.
Barkley, in speaking with ESPN's "The Herd With Colin Cowherd," said that "tempers flared" but that no punches were thrown.
"I would say tempers flared, yeah, but that's football," Barkley said. "It's an emotional game, and when you end your season on a negative note like that, emotions are going to be high. Guys were expressing their opinions, for better or worse, but we had it under control. It was nothing to be alarmed about."
"If you ask some of the guys who were there what happened they'll negate those claims about people throwing punches and all that stuff or whatever was said," Barkley said. "Obviously, in the locker room after that game, which was a loss, there's gonna be words exchanged. People weren't in the best mood, but that wasn't to say we were fighting each other or there was an altercation."
One USC player, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that he arrived at the locker room a few minutes after most of the team but saw a scene he described as "pure chaos," though he never saw punches thrown.
"When I came into the locker room ... it was just pure chaos in there," the player said. "... I think there was a lot of frustration. There were some things said by some guys on our team who are just hotheads."
They did it all for the glory of an increasingly lost season (copyright Stu).
The BCS title game wasn't much to look at, but thankfully broadcaster Brent Musburger found a few things to occupy his time. In addition to calling a garbage time spat between Alabama QB AJ McCarron and his center Barrett Jones a "lovers' quarrel," ol' Brent was quite smitten with McCarron's model girlfriend, Katherine Webb. As noted by the Associated Press:
During the network's Monday night telecast, the camera lingered early in the game on model Katherine Webb, who was in the stands with her mother.
Webb is Miss Alabama, and the 73-year-old Musburger remarked on this "beautiful woman," adding a "Whoa!" at another moment of admiration. Musburger also had this observation: "You quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women."
Musburger might have helped boost Webb's fame, as she gained 90,000 Twitter followers during the broadcast. As for himself, Musburger cemented his status, we suppose, as a dirty old man.
UPDATE: ESPN has released a statement of apology for Musburger's comments:
"We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that.”
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