A Running Timeline Of The Media’s Coverage Of The Manti Te’o “Catfishing” Hoax

We are doing our best to keep up with all of the reports that keep trickling in about the Manti Te’o “girlfriend” hoax, and have put together a timeline of information reported/received since Wednesday.

We’ll update you as we go: 

January 18th, Evening: ESPN has just announced that Manti Te’o is currently doing an off-camera interview with Jeremy Schapp – and his lawyer is present during the interview. It will be aired on SportsCenter following the NBA game.

January 18th, Afternoon: Jack Swarbrick is urging Manti Te’o to speak soon about the situation. 

January 18th, Afternoon: The Honalulu Star-Advertiser publishes a story that claims that sources close to Manti Te’o say that Te’o received a call from “Lennay Kekua” on December 6th with Kekua claiming she had to fake her own death to “elude drug dealers”. 

January 18th, Afternoon: The creators of MTV’s “Catfish” believe that Manti was not the first person to be duped by Lennay Kekua. They have been corresponding with many people concerning the incident and have come to the conclusion that “Lennay” was talking to several other people before and during the period she was involved with Manti.

January 18th, 2:51 PM: ESPN cites an anonymous woman who has come forward claiming that she is a friend of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. She claims that Tuiasosopo came to her in early December crying and admitting that he and his cousins concocted the scheme and that Manti was in no way behind the hoax.

January 18th, 9:20 PM: TMZ reports that sources say Manti Te’o was dating a St. Mary’s College girl from November 10th until recently. 

January 17th, Evening: Inside Edition identifies the woman in the pictures of “Lennay Kay” to be Diane O’Meara. She claims her identity was stolen and that she has nothing to do with the hoax.

January 17th, Evening: Manti Te’o's uncle, Alema Te’o, goes on the air to speak out against Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the supposed coordinator of the hoax. He defends Manti and places full blame on Ronaiah.

January 17th, Afternoon: SI’s Pete Thamel releases the full interview he had with Manti Te’o back on September 23rd. 

January 17th, 12:55 PM: Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde reveals that Manti Te’o was scheduled to address the girlfriend hoax on Monday, January 14th, but instead, he passed on the opportunity. This allowed Deadspin to gather the facts and break the story before Manti could.

January 17th, 10:26 AM: ESPN announces that Manti Te’o will not address the situation today as expected by Yahoo! Sports.

January 17th, Morning: ESPN publishes an article that claims an anonymous teammate said Te’o “played up” the story. The source did not know if Te’o was involved in the hoax.

January 17th, Morning: TMZ says Notre Dame has issued an unofficial “gag order” on its staff regarding the Manti Te’o situation.

January 17th, Morning: Tyler Moorehead of College Spun suggests some players thought Manti was embellishing, claims it was widely-known that Manti dated other women during his time on campus.

January 16th, Evening: Pepper On Sports publishes an article stating that an anonymous Notre Dame football player has said that Manti Te’o “lied, but the media blew it up.” The article states that the players “smelled something fishy” back in September of 2012.

January 16th, Evening: Tweets begin circulating from two Twitter accounts that seem to have knowledge of the hoax as far back as early December. One of the accounts even tweets during the BCS National Championship Game about Manti and @LennyKay. Both accounts eventually claim Tuiasosopo was involved.

January 16th, Evening: It is discovered that on December 6th, Playerswives.com received several emails from a girl claiming to be Lennay’s sister to take down stories concerning Manti and Lennay Kekua. The cell phone sending the emails is registered to someone in Los Angeles, California.

January 16th, Evening: Arizona Cardinals player Reagan Mauia claims to have met Lennay Kekua, while on a trip to American Samoa.

January 16th, 9:43 PM: Former Stanford player and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Matt Masifilo tweets that Manti would always ask Stanford players after games if they knew Lennay since she supposedly attended school there.

January 16th, 8:00 PM: Notre Dame’s Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick holds a press conference concerning the Te’o girlfriend hoax, claiming Te’o informed the school of the issue on December 26th. Swarbrick stands by Te’o, saying he full well believes Manti was duped into believing Kekua was real.

January 16th, 6:00 PM: Manti Te’o releases a statement concerning the girlfriend hoax, claiming that he was a victim, not a perpetrator. 

January 16th, 5:15 PM: Notre Dame admits to having some knowledge about the Lennay Kekua hoax, and claims that Manti Te’o was the victim.

January 16th, 4:10 PM: Deadspin reports that Manti Te’o's dead girlfriend story is a complete fabrication. The writers claim that “Lennay Kekua” was a fake online persona used (potentially) by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo to “catfish” Te’o. They report that a source tells them there’s an “80%” chance Te’o was in on it.

Unis

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The College Spun Staff.