Reagan Maui’a tweeted about Lennay Kekua…and his story matches up with Manti Te’o’s

So by now I trust you have seen this impressive piece of work by Deadpsin. ESPN covered it and at the end, added this tidbit about Reagan Maui’a, an Arizona Cardinals fullback claiming he knew Lennay Kekua, and met her–in person–back in 2011.

A quick search through allmytweets.net on @Reagan_Mauia45, Maiu’a’s official Twitter, turned up 7 tweets mentioning @LennayKay. There were no tweets to @lovalovaloveYOU or @loveMSMK, Kekua’s other since-deleted Twitter handles.

Maui’a’s tweets about Kekua indicate that he believes the same story Te’o told the world. Deadspin made it clear in their article that there’s no record of Kekua at Stanford. Yet here’s one of Maui’a’s tweets that calls Kekua a Stanford alum.

Maui’a also tweeted about Kekua dying of Leukemia, right around the time of the alleged death–that Deadspin also solidly reported as a fabrication.

And then there are these, too:

The tweets are dated September 13, 2012. Kekua allegedly died on September 12th. Maui’a’s tweets match up with the general timeline for Te’o and his girlfriend. They’re definitely talking about the same girl. The girl that definitely doesn’t exist, contrary to what Maui’a says.

Maui’a claims he met Kekua in person, and Maui’a’s Kekua is the same girl as Te’o’s Kekua. It’s pretty obvious that Maui’a got catfished by the same person as Te’o.

Here are the rest of Maui’a’s tweets that mention @LennayKay, coming to seven in total.

Update: I decided to do a little more research after thinking about the implications of Maui’a tweeting about the same fake dead girl. Maui’a says he met whoever claimed to be @LennayKay. For those still thinking Te’o is 0% innocent and fabricated the whole thing–what is the motive for having someone “be” Kekua and meet Maui’a? Also, why Maui’a? If this was a publicity stunt, Maui’a would never be involved.

This also helps add weight to the claim made that @LennayKay had relationships with other athletes. At the very least, she had contact with one other player–an NFL player, at that.

I looked through Maui’a’s tweets (again, thanks to allmytweets.net) to see if he knew Manti Te’o. Were they friends? Doesn’t look like it. Of all the tweets Maui’a has, Manti is mentioned in two tweets. Here they are:

He wanted Te’o to win the Heisman. That doesn’t say much. Maui’a’s twitter is also filled with Polynesian and Samoan pride. I’m guessing his support for Te’o partly stems from that.

I don’t have a conclusion for this, but it obviously raises a lot of questions. Maui’a was played by the same @LennayKay; he, too, bought her story. It looks like that gives some credibility to Te’o’s claim that he was a victim, at least in some part.

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Concussion Study

Apologies for the delayed post. I interviewed Dr. Chris Giza, a medical researcher at UCLA, and posted this article on a budding study that could affect the rules of sports contact, if all goes well. 

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/football/ncaa/09/28/national-sports-concussion-outcome-study/index.html

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Josh Thole Quits Twitter

Here’s my latest contribution to SI.com, a short piece about Mets catcher Josh Thole quitting Twitter.

A quick story about this one: I conducted my interview with Thole a few hours before a Mets game, in the Mets clubhouse. As I was walking out of the stadium and up the steps to the subway, a guy laughed at me and said, “The merchandise store isn’t open yet, come back later.”

So that was nice and offensive… Anyway, here’s the article:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/more/09/19/thole-twitter/index.html

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SI Twitter Top 100

I had a hand in this project, including helping to choose the 100 and managing the very rough and ugly excel spreadsheet for a while. Check it out!

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/more/09/13/twitter-100/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_t11_a0

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On Burying Penn State

I went to the Penn State season opener on Sept. 1st this year and wrote this column for my Sports Writing class based on my experience and interviews.

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Some grave robbers are bent on undoing the Penn State burial at every turn. The University is genuinely trying to move forward by accepting the NCAA punishments, hiring a new head coach and removing the Joe Paterno statue. The majority of Penn Staters support the move forward, but a few fans are not so accommodating.

Where that iconic statue and four supporting football players once stood is now a grassy hill and several evenly spaced budding trees, so young they need small wooden poles for support. These trees are brand new, just planted. Even though this entire stretch outside of the stadium is uniform and the wall behind Joe Paterno’s statue has been taken down, students and alumni know exactly where the statue once was. At 8 a.m. with no one around, junior Brittany Nelson walked me right to the spot, without counting that it was after the fourth tree, and point to a completely unremarkable plot of grass. “This,” she said flatly, “is where the statue was.”

The wall behind Joe Paterno has been taken down.

The metaphors here are too obvious to mention. He has been buried; at least, the University is doing everything in its power to bury his legacy and put the scandal to rest entirely.

A recent Sports Illustrated cover featuring a lone helmet on a black page, eerily reminiscent of a headstone, rocked the Penn State network. But the idea, it turns out, is not so far off. Penn State itself is trying to bury the past 20 years and move forward.

Two weeks ago at the home opener, fans were carrying cardboard cutouts of the former head coach and sporting T-shirts that read “409 Forever” and “Thanks for everything, Joe.” These are the fans determined to resurrect the Old Penn State. The JoePa tributes were frequent enough to notice them, but also sparse enough to realize they were the minority.

More students and fans wore “O’Brien’s Lions” and “Billieve” shirts, bold proclamations of the hope that Bill O’Brien will carry Penn State forward. Choruses of “Bill-O-Bri-en” overpowered any “Joe-Pa-ter-no” chant. Still, O’Brien has an uphill battle to carry PSU out of the graveyard and into the limelight once again, and everyone knows it.

“It’s going to take a long time,” Chris Robson, a Penn State fan acknowledged at a post-game tailgate. “[Losing the home opener] pretty much pins it. Penn State has a long road ahead.”

After the disappointing loss the crowds dispersed, disheartened. Only one tenth of the crowd that cheered for the team as they entered the locker room remained to greet them when they walked out. As the players exited the stadium in sweats, headphones on, heads down, the crowd was silent until a woman in her 40s yelled out, “Come on guys! They stayed for us!” and inspired a small cheer to ripple through the crowd.

Astounding. They stayed for us. The players, rocked by sanctions and punishments for something they did not contribute to in any way, stayed for the fans, for the Penn State community.

Where is the support for the Penn State fans? They stayed, they endured. They came in thousands to see a home opener that was virtually meaningless in football terms. They have been ridiculed ruthlessly by the media for months.

It’s not that the school and students aren’t ready and willing to move forward. Most of them certainly are, and in fact the prevailing sentiment is that they are sick of hearing about the scandal. “We’re just tired of it,” PSU junior Danielle Smith admitted. “What happened was terrible and we’re all sad about it. But we’re tired of the media and the criticism. People outside Penn State don’t realize what a tight-knit community we are.” What about those fans (almost omnipresent in media reports) unwilling to acknowledge Joe Paterno’s guilt? “Our instinct is to protect each other.”

At 9 a.m. before the game there is a tiny JoePa bobble head on the lawn where his statue once stood. By the end of the game at 4 p.m., there are cards, flowers and photos. Everyone stops to take a picture, crouching down next to the silent memorial. Some pose as JoePa did, leaning forward with a single finger pointing up, the symbol for being number one. But a Penn State landmark that has literally been buried under new grass and trees doesn’t give the impression that JoePa is number one any longer. Despite those few grave robbers, it seems that, slowly, Penn State is burying its past and moving on.

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