Manti Te’o Posts Video Reacting To Documentary Detailing Catfishing Scandal

Manti Te’o Posts Video Reacting To Documentary Detailing Catfishing Scandal

Former Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o posted an emotional video over the weekend reacting to the outpouring of support he’s received since the Netflix debut of “Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist,” a docu-series detailing the infamous catfishing of the linebacker.

Te’o captured the sports world in 2012, when he dedicated what would be an undefeated regular season to his grandmother and girlfriend, who died on the same day — or so he thought. As blown up in the media, the girlfriend Te’o met online did not exist, he was “catfished” by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a similarly-aged male who now identifies as a transgender woman and goes by Naya.

“I just wanted to come out here real quick to give a heartfelt thank you to everybody who has come through and has shown so much love to me and my family, for your messages, for your comments,” Te’o said in a video posted to Instagram.

The docu-series shows the “untold” side of the scandal, cast in a far more realistic and sympathetic light than Te’o previously received from the media and public.

“It’s been amazing to me to hear the battles that we’re all facing, the challenges that we’re facing in our lives at this time and how the documentary has given some of us hope, the extra push just to keep going, if there’s anything that I wanted from this thing was just to give some of us hope who needed it, to tell those who needed some love that they’re loved, and to help them to forgive,” the openly Christian athlete said.

A few days earlier, Te’o struck the same chord discussing “The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist.”

“As I sit here and think about the journey that it has been to come to this point, I am extremely humbled,” he wrote. “I want to publicly thank everyone who has been a part of my journey because you all have played a vital role into me getting to where I am today.”

“To all the people that have supported me and have stood up for me, this one is for you,” the 31-year-old continued. “Thank you for your unwavering love and support. You have no idea what that has meant to me the past 10 years. To my family, we’ve been through it all … the highest of highs and the lowest of lows but I’m forever grateful that I had you all with me, every step of the way.”

“Last but not least, God … thank you,” Te’o added. “Thank you for all lessons. Thank you for all the hard times. Thank you for the good people throughout the years that have reached out to show love and support when it was not the most popular thing to do. Thank you for it all. It was all meant for me. “

Notably, the catfisher, Naya, was included in the documentary, at the behest of Te’o.

“I’m grateful that Naya was able to go on there, and I’m sure it wasn’t comfortable for Naya as well, but I wanted it,” he said.

“I told (directors) Tony Vainuku and Ryan Duffy I wanted it to be the story,” he explained. “That’s what was so great. Everybody said it’s my story. No, I wanted it to be the story … When this thing comes out I don’t want it to just be one-sided. I didn’t want it to just be me. I wanted it to be everybody. And again, it was the entire truth and I think that’s what people really love about it. There was no stone left unturned, and definitely it was a powerful experience.”

 

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