Manti Te’o’s father was the source for the story in the South Bend Tribune, which mainstream sports organizations seem to have taken as fact, that detailed Te’o’s alleged meetings with his girlfriend at Stanford and Hawaii.
On Wednesday, Deadspin revealed this girlfriend did not exist and her death was a hoax. Te’o has claimed he was a victim of a hoax and not complicit in it.
On October 12, the South Bend Tribune, in a story titled, “What dreams may come: Te’o’s, ND’s destiny come full circle,” wrote that Te’o had met his girlfriend at Stanford after Notre Dame played the Cardinal in November of 2009.
Eric Hansen, who authored the story and interviewed Te’o’s father, wrote that “in a taped interview on Oct. 10,” Te’o’s father told him about how Te’o met his girlfriend:
In a taped interview on Oct. 10 with Te’o’s parents, Brian and Ottilia, Te’o’s father said the initial meeting between Manti and Kekua came in person in late November 2009, when Notre Dame played Stanford in Palo, Alto, Calif.
The detail included the touching of hands and the fact Manti thought she was cute.
“They started out as just friends,” Brian Teo added. “Every once in a while, she would travel to Hawaii, and that happened to be the time Manti was home, so he would meet with her there. But within the last year, they became a couple.
Te’o’s father added then: “And we came to the realization that she could be our daughter-in-law. Sadly, it won’t happen now.”
The South Bend Tribune’s e-mails and calls to Teo’s on Wednesday night went unreturned.