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Manti Te’o's Fake Girlfriend is a Real Man

• January 31, 2013 • 8:24 AM

Well, that explains a lot. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the 22-year-old guy who invented football star Manti Te’o's imaginary lady-love explains why on the Dr. Phil show tonight: because he was in love with Te’o.

Dr. Phil, in teasing the interview set to air tonight, says: “I asked him straight up, ‘Was this a romantic relationship with you?’ And he says, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Are you then, therefore, gay?’ And he said, ‘Well, when you put it that way, yes.’ And then he caught himself and said, ‘I am confused.’”

Tuiasosopo went so far as to disguise his voice to sound like a woman’s so he could talk to Te’o by phone. Te’o, he insists, had no idea he was being tricked.

Speaking from experience, Greg Crosby explained recently on our site how someone like Te’o could fall for such a hoax. And now we’ve got a good explanation as to why someone like Tuiasosopo would perpetrate it. Big-time football is one of the thankfully dwindling number of last bastions of open homophobia. If even a player on the San Francisco 49ers can make a crack like this, it’s easy to see why Tuiasosopo felt he couldn’t admit his real feelings for Te’o.

Moral: go, Brendan Ayanbadejo!

Vince Beiser
Vince Beiser is an award-winning journalist based in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter @vincelb.

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