Story of Te'o girlfriend hoax may never come to definitive end


Story of Te'o girlfriend hoax may never come to definitive end

Updated: Jan. 20, 10:40 a.m.

It's been three days since Deadspin first reported Manti Te'o's girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, was nothing more than the product of an elaborate hoax. Since then, we've heard from Notre Dame, those close to Te'o, those close to Ronaiah Tuiasosopo -- the man behind Kekua's persona -- and, late Friday night, Te'o himself.

There's much more information on the table than there was Wednesday. But there's still a large gray area inside this story, and it likely won't go away.

Te'o's interview with Jeremy Schapp Friday answered a few questions. It brought to light more aspects of the saga that require an explanation -- for example, why did the direct messages that purportedly show Tuiasosopo confessing to Te'o about the hoax initially show a message that's 217 characters long (Twitter's limit is 140 characters)? ESPN has since updated the image file to show messages that fit Twitter's limit.

Furthermore, why didn't the private firm Notre Dame hired extensively interview Te'o as part of its investigation? Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio provides reasoning why the investigation wouldn't talk to the perpetrators of the Kekua hoax, but that doesn't explain why Te'o wasn't directly part of the inquiry.

But enough with the questions, since chances are, they won't be answered. Schapp said Friday it appeared as if Te'o had unburdened himself with the interview, and there's probably a decent chance he won't speak on the matter again.

Related: Te'o breaks silence, but only raises more questions

Te'o may be bombarded by questions about it at the NFL combine, or after he's hitched with a pro team in late April. But he could easily say he doesn't want to discuss the topic, and no amount of prying could get anymore information out of him if he's personally moved on from the Kekua hoax.

But he'll have to field plenty of questions in private as NFL teams vet him as a potential draft pick. Te'o hardly is done with the questioning, but he may be done with it in the public eye.

Notre Dame, too, won't speak on the matter anymore. Brian Kelly may be asked about it at his next press conference -- which, right now, looks like Feb. 6 for national signing day -- and perhaps defensive coordinator Bob Diaco will field a question or two down the road as well.

It doesn't sound as if Tuiasosopo will discuss it anytime soon, either. Perhaps hearing from the person who pretended to be Kekua would advance the story, but that person hasn't come forward yet.

Most of those secondhand accounts, save the friend of Tuiasosopo's cited by Deadspin as being "80 percent" sure Te'o was in on the hoax, have come out in support of the Notre Dame linebacker. Plenty of friends and teammates have told various media outlets Te'o was duped and had no hand in the hoax, and a friend of Tuiasosopo's told Te'o wasn't involved as well.

In fact, right as this article was published, ran a story showing a Facebook correspondence Te'o had with a friend showing the linebacker thought Kekua may be a "prank" in 2010.

Related: Samardzija, Te'o: The spotlight comes with the territory

When the Deadspin story broke Wednesday, the biggest question regarded how much Te'o knew. There's now enough evidence in Te'o's favor that would indicate he indeed was duped, although it's impossible to say that with 100 percent certainty. It's logical to believe Te'o wasn't involved, but it's also not completely illogical to continue searching for evidence that he was in on it.

A definitive ending to this story would certainly be satisfying. Cliffhangers, inevitably, keep us coming back for more, and gray areas foster speculation.

Alabama left no doubt they were the best team in college football on Jan. 7. This story won't have an ending as convincing as a 42-14 final score.

For such a bizarre, fascinating tale that managed to wrestle away the national spotlight for a few days, that's not the endgame we're looking for. But it's the one we'll likely get.

Notre Dame CB Devin Butler pleads not guilty on felonies

Notre Dame CB Devin Butler pleads not guilty on felonies

Notre Dame cornerback Devin Butler had a plea of not guilty submitted on his behalf Wednesday after his weekend arrest for an altercation outside of a bar.

The senior was arrested Saturday and accused of tackling a police officer and punching him during the altercation. Butler was charged Tuesday with felony counts of resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official. 

Head coach Brian Kelly has already announced an indefinite suspension for Butler, as he was already out until October with a broken foot. 

After Butler's court appearance at St. Joseph Superior Court on Wednesday, he declined comment. Butler is scheduled for an initial hearing on Sept. 1.

Notre Dame CB Devin Butler formally charged with two felonies

Notre Dame CB Devin Butler formally charged with two felonies

Notre Dame senior cornerback Devin Butler was formally charged Tuesday in St. Joseph Superior Court with resisting law enforcement and battery against a public safety official, both of which are felonies. 

Butler was suspended indefinitely by coach Brian Kelly on Sunday after prosecutors requested a delay in deciding whether or not to formally charge Butler with those two offenses. Butler was arrested early Saturday morning outside the Linebacker Lounge, a popular bar near Notre Dame's campus, after an altercation with two police officers in which he also allegedly shoved a woman. 

A Notre Dame spokesperson said Saturday that "Any student arrested on a felony charge also faces dismissal from the university." 

Butler will be arraigned Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET. 

When officers arrived at the Linebacker early Saturday morning, they reported a scuffle between two women in which one woman kicked the other in the head. When they approached that woman to arrest her for battery, Butler allegedly "lunged" at the woman who kicked the other and forcibly shoved her "by her head and body, causing her to move approximately 3 to 4 feet," according to an affadavit. 

Butler was grabbed by an officer and told to stay back, but allegedly swore at officers and approached them. The two officers on the scene attempted to detain Butler, who then allegedly pushed an officer off balance, "picked him up over a curb and tackled" him to the ground. A struggle on the ground followed in which Butler allegedly struck an officer in the side and stomach "several times" as he continued to curse and threaten the officers.  

Butler allegedly then ripped a duty belt off another officer before he was struck by an officer, who deployed a Taser. The officer Butler scuffled with reported injuries to his elbow, wrist, neck, back and arm and was treated at Memorial Hospital and released.

According to the court documents, Butler apologized while being transported to the St. Joseph County Jail, "stating that he had been incredibly emotional and intoxicated." He posted $1,000 bond on Saturday and was released. 

Butler, who appeared in 37 games with three starts from 2013-2015, is recovering from a foot injury he initially suffered before the Fiesta Bowl and re-aggravated over the summer. He wasn't expected to be ready to play until mid-October at the earliest. 

Notre Dame gives sophomore WR Chris Finke a scholarship

Notre Dame gives sophomore WR Chris Finke a scholarship

Chris Finke is no longer a part of Notre Dame's walk-on player nation. 

The sophomore receiver, who impressed coaches during spring camp and carried that momentum into August, received a scholarship on Monday, according to multiple tweets from his teammates:

Finke, a 5-foot-9, 180 pound slot receiver who played with Irish quarterback Malik Zaire at Archbishop Alter High School in Dayton, Ohio, was one of Notre Dame's more consistent receivers during portions of preseason camp open to the media earlier this month. Coach Brian Kelly described Finke as "Robby Toma with more speed," a nod to the former Notre Dame slot receiver who caught 60 passes for 667 yards and one touchdown from 2009-2012. 

While Finke is squarely behind sophomore C.J. Sanders both as a slot receiver and punt returner, Kelly hasn't ruled out turning to the Kettering, Ohio native during the regular season. 

Finke is the first walk-on to earn a scholarship since Notre Dame gave one to running back Josh Anderson last August.