Another day, another development in the absurd story of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s relationship with a fake girlfriend.
Yesterday, ABC released audio clips of the phone conversations, some of which lasted for hours, Te’o had with the fake person who he believed to be Lennay Kekua, his Internet girlfriend. The voice in the calls was presumed to belong to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the alleged mastermind behind the hoax.
“It didn’t sound like a man,” Te’o told Katie Couric in a televised interview. “If [Ronaiah] somehow made that voice, that’s incredible, that’s an incredible talent to do that. Especially every single day.”
And he’s right. The voice in the clips does sound like a female.
Was Tuiasosopo just really good at speaking in falsetto? That’s what his lawyer says.
Te’o “thought it was a female he was talking with,” lawyer Milton Grimes told the New York Daily News. “It was Ronaiah as Lennay.”
Not so fast, says one of Tuiasosopo’s cousins.
Speaking with the New York Post, an unnamed cousin alleges that the voice on the phone was actually a female: Tino Tuiasosopo (pictured above).
This story just keeps getting bigger and bigger and weirder and weirder.
So, now it seems that Te’o’s initial claim that he was a victim and not a perpetrator of this hoax sounds more believable. It still seems like he joined in the hoax at some point, possibly to avoid embarrassment during the college football season and possibly to bolster his chances of winning the Heisman trophy, but it sounds like he truly was duped for a long time.