Now you may ask yourself how someone can find themselves in a relationship with someone they've only talked to on the internet. I personally know how it's possible because it happened to me. About 10 or so years ago, I was in a emotional relationship with someone on the internet for about a year. I never met the guy, but we spoke on internet chats and on the phone. We seemed to have a deep connection bonded in common interests. Could I have been the victim of the hoax…very well could've been. He claimed to have plans to come see me only to have a relative wind up in the hospital days before his trip. Finally, I decided that this wasn't a healthy mature way to live my life and I moved on…we stopped talking and that was that. So I get how someone could do that. I also see now how easily it could've been all faked. I would often refer to this guy as just a close friend, but in my mind we were in a relationship of sorts, but too embarrassed to say "yeah he's my boyfriend, but we've never met"…especially when the internet was still rather young (and by young, I think Friendster was barely the social network du jour).
this could also be the case of a giant publicity stunt or cover. i'm not ruling that out. Maybe it started as a hoax and then Te'o realized after he was duped that it was too embarrassing to fess up especially if it had already snowballed out of control in the public eye. Then again, he could've been in on it the whole entire time. There has even been mentioned that the fake girlfriend was a beard to hide sexuality concerns. What gets me is all the people who are judging without knowing all the facts or not even waiting to hear what Te'o has to say himself.
I also have a problem with Deadspin.com. They are basically the TMZ of the sports world in my eyes. Sure some of their stories are funny (like the Grady Sizemore leaked photos where he's posing with a teacup covering his junk), but I wouldn't consider them the most credible sports news source. Again, personally speaking here because I was involved in THIS Deadspin story about Peyton Hillis. They call it "ohio nice"….do your research Deadspin. The restaurant was in California. Los Angeles, to be exact and I know that because it's my receipt. I still have the picture on my phone to this very day (no, I'm not the person who sent it to Deadspin either. I do believe that it was someone who saw the photo on my Facebook and/or Twitter and went to Deadspin with it). This alone makes me question their journalistic integrity….and also why I question parts of other stories they report including some of the information in the Te'o story.
Just a little perspective to think about when considering if someone is the victim of a hoax or a master at manipulating public relations to garner college football accolades and professional football riches.