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Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is a voice ninja, Dr. Phil is a hack, and Manti Te’o’s a liar
- Updated: February 1, 2013
I swear this is the last time I’ll write about this, because I’m sure, by now, everyone’s over this story. Lord knows I am. Still, it’s so bizarre that I felt I needed to “go there” once more, just to put a bow on it, if you will.
But before I put a bow on it, you’ll need to know the latest:
The Ronaiah Tuiasosopo interview on Dr. Phil
Ronaiah Tuiasosopo went on Dr. Phil’s show yesterday and came off eerily normal while discussing behavior that was anything but. As everyone suspected he would, Ronaiah admitted to being the sole mastermind of the hoax. He also admitted that he developed romantic feelings for Manti during the hoax.
Which I’m assuming means that the mastermind was mastur-minded as well. Oh my. So sorry about that one.
Anyway, none of that was really shocking. But what was kinda shocking was that Ronaiah held tight to his contention that he was the voice of Lennay, a claim he first made through his attorney over a week ago.
But since then, some other woman — a relative of Tuiasosopo whose name I’m too lazy to Google — said that she had portrayed the role of Lennay. And voice analyzing experts seemed to agree. Well, they agreed, at least, that Ronaiah was NOT the voice. In fact, according to Dr. Phil, he’d gotten some folks at the FBI to compare the voice mails from “Lennay” that Manti Te’o had provided with recordings of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s voice, and they concluded that there was only a one in 10 million chance that Ronaiah was the voice of Lennay.
And that’s how yesterday’s show ended. With Dr. Phil telling Ronaiah about what the experts had determined, at which point he more or less dared the confused young man to channel his inner Lennay. Ronaiah initially balked, but eventually agreed to do it, but only if no one could see him. Because, you know, that’d be embarrassing. At which point the show ended with the ultimate tease:
Tune in tomorrow, folks, to see if Ronaiah Tuiasosopo can get his Lennay on.
Well guess what? Today’s tomorrow and thanks to the miracle of the Internet, you didn’t even have to watch Dr. Phil to find out the answer. Which is huge in my book because I hate Dr. Phil.
He’s such a ham. Just the way he’ll ask a question, nod intently while hearing the response, then bust out some super-deep, overly-dramatic psycho analysis of the answer. Only his take is usually so common-sensical that any hack could have come up with it.
What a dime-store shrink that clown is. You just know that half the shit he comes up with came from the inside of some bad, stale-ass Wasabi fortune cookie or something. He’s like a horrendous actor, just belting out his lines, unaware of his sanctimony, his ineptitude, the self parody he’s inadvertently committing, too busy, it seems, enjoying what he mistakenly thinks is his finest hour.
Anyway, Deadspin reported today that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo pulled it off. Yep. He went behind that bad fold-up-screen deal you might find in some shady Asian Spa, and BOOM, rocked a perfect Lennay.
But just to be sure, Dr. Phil sent a tape of Ronaiah’s Lennay to the aforementioned voice analysts “one of whom concluded Tuiasosopo was ‘a true talent’ who had abilities the analyst had never seen before. All three experts concluded the voice matched those from the voicemails.”
It’s worth pointing out that these are the same jake legs voice who came up with the one in 10 million stat. (Um, what’s up with our FBI, y’all? HELLO?) Regardless, I’m telling you, head over to Deadspin and hear for yourself. Because it’s totally clear that Roniaiah really was/is the voice of Lennay.
So here’s the bow I’ll put on this most fucked up of packages:
Those voice dudes are right – Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is a true talent. And if he ever finds himself in the pokey, I’m telling you, that cat could date any inmate he wanted. Just bust out a little Lennay when the lights go down, and POW, the bang-bang train’ll be headed to pound town before you can say “What color are your Manties?”
Also, most will believe that these revelations exonerate Manti, but they’re wrong. But before I explain why, I’ll first admit this:
I believe that Manti was legitimately fooled for a long time and was truly catfished.
But, like I’ve said before, once Lennay died, he would have tried to find her obituary. And once he failed to do so, he would have known that something was up. Especially given all the times he FaceTimed a black screen and / or came thisclose to meeting her in person only to have something foul it up at the last minute.
Instead of doing the right thing and coming forward at that point, before this thing was even a story, Manti chose to ride it out. Chose to let the press milk it. Chose to receive all of our heartfelt sympathies. And within all those choices was a lie of omission. Then, a lie of exaggeration as to the nature of his relationship.
But, hey, maybe it never occurred to him to seek Lennay’s obituary. (It did, but stay with me…) Maybe the first time he ever thought something was up was on December 6th when he got that call from Ronaiah who was pretending to be U’i (Lennay’s sister) who suddenly said “Surprise, Manti, it’s me, Lennay, and I’m alive!”
Assuming that was the case, I’m positive that he found out shortly thereafter the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Right down to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo playing the role of Lennay.
How am I positive, you might wonder? Because of something Manti said to Katie Couric after she played one of the voice mails from Lennay.
“Sure sounds like a girl, doesn’t it.” (paraphrasing, not sure if those were his words verbatim, but if not, they’re damn close…)
That interview was taped before ANYONE ever suspected that Ronaiah was the voice of Lennay. (I mean, hell, remember what a curve ball that was when we found that out?) Before that, we all assumed that the hoax was pulled off by two men and one woman.
Why did we think that? Because that’s what Manti told Jeremy Schaap — that he’d heard from Ronaiah Tuiasosopo on January 16, the day the story broke, via a Twitter DM in which Ronaiah had fessed up, apologized and told Te’o that he’d enlisted the help of another guy and another girl (to play the part of Lennay) to pull the whole deal off.
In other words, according to Manti, the notion that the voice of Lennay really belonged to a man had never crossed anyone’s mind. Which means at the point when Manti listened to the voice mails on her show, he’d have no reason to say “Sounds like a girl, doesn’t it?” because that’s what everyone knew as fact at that moment. That the voice belonged to a girl.
Which is why I believe that Manti knew that Ronaiah was the voice of Lennay when he was talking to Katie and was desperately trying to save face. When he found out this fact is anyone’s guess (though I suspect it’s a lot earlier than many would be comfortable with). But he knew. So that’s yet another lie he told. And that’s my final take on Manti.
He’s not some horrible dude who orchestrated this whole deal to get sympathy votes for the Heisman. He’s just some poor fellow who’s dumb enough to fall for such a hoax. And self-consumed enough to ride it out once he realized the whole deal was working to his advantage. And deceitful enough to live a lie before a nationally televised audience. But he didn’t mastermind this. Of that much, I’m certain. Academic All-American or not, that dude’s not where NEAR smart enough to pull all that off.
Which ultimately means that Manti Te’o, my friends, is a dim-witted liar.
And his actions were shameful. Especially when you consider that the Lennay story took away from the passing of his grandmother. Which means that Manti essentially disparaged the death of a real woman by making her share the stage of public grief with a fake one.
Who turned out to be a man.
So what should happen to Manti?
Nothing. I mean, hell, he’s paying through the ass right now because the entire world now knows he regularly exchanged sweet nothings with a presumed hottie who turned out to be little more than a 220-pound lovesick Samoan man armed with a kick-ass falsetto. (Even money they had phone sex. Just throwing that out there.)
And if he thinks that humiliation is bad, just wait till he experiences the rookie hazing that’s likely in store for him in the NFL. Assuming, that is, that he even gets drafted after this debacle.
Nope. Nothing should happen to Manti. He’s paying his price and seems like a good enough kid to not just learn from it, but also rebound from it. I hope so. I really do.
But Ronaiah, on the other hand? I wish he could somehow be punished for causing so much grief. But legally, it’s my understanding that he’s committed no crime. At least not one punishable by any punitive measure.
But, seriously, that guy’s life’s pretty much over. At least the life as he knew it. And even if he goes on to seek the help he so desperately needs, then gets it all together, he’ll never be able to live this down, his name forever linked with some made-up chick named Lennay Kekua. So it seems like he’s paying quite a price after all.
Plus, he had to spend an entire day with Dr. Phil, which you know had to be brutal. Listening to the man who put the HAM in Hamlet.
Thanks for taking my call. I’ll hang up and listen now.