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Pete Thamel on Te’o: “I feel really bad for that kid”

Pete Thamel went on the Dan Patrick Show this morning to clear the air about why he didn’t uncover the fact that Manti Te’o’s girlfriend Lennay Kekua was fake when he did not one, but two articles on Te’o for Sports Illustrated over the past year. Thamel said he truly feels that Te’o was duped, calling him a “dynamic, interesting kid,” a Mormon, an Eagle scout who had much more depth than your average college student (that’s the truth). More depth than say, Eric Bledsoe, Enes Kanter or Honeybadger, right?

How did Thamel, who takes more pride in his journalistic integrity than Bryan the Intern does in his morning deuce, miss the fact that Kekug didn’t even exist? Thamel said that he went in search of facts about Lennay and that everyone he talked to believed that she not only existed, but that she had visited campus. Thamel looked for an obituary, death notice, etc. for Lennay and didn’t find any, calling them “small red flags” that he relayed to his editors, but that it wasn’t uncommon for young people to have a Lexis-Nexis “footprint.”

Essentially, Thamel and his editors chose to overlook that fact because of the convincing interviews from Te’o, his teammates, his coaches, and his family about Lennay. Thamel was so moved that he “wrote around it.” In fact, Thamel said he got a text from a fellow reporter last night who said “The ‘dead girlfriend doesn’t exist’ isn’t in the reporter equation at that point.” What?! You’re telling me that the girl that Te’o was so in love with that he dedicated every game to her after her tragic death, didn’t warrant a little extra background checking? If Thamel had taken the time to clean the tears off his keyboard, maybe he would have thought twice about the fact that there was no record of not only her death, but her existence. For someone who loves a scandal like Pete does, that sounds like a pretty juicy story to me. But, because Te’o was an Eagle scout and played for ye ole Notre Dame, Thamel didn’t think twice.

When it comes to Te’o, Thamel says he doesn’t think he “has it in him” to create a lie like this and was duped “hook, line and sinker.” In fact, Thamel said “I feel really bad for that kid.” Pete, did you feel really bad for Eric, Enes, or Honeybadger? No, you were too busy trying to destroy their futures because they didn’t fit your model of the ideal student athlete and two of them were associated with a man you hate. Not even Manti Te’o wants your pity right now.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

44 Comments for Pete Thamel on Te’o: “I feel really bad for that kid”



  1. greginky
    2:34 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Has anyone noticed that Thamel looks like an older Peter Brady?



  2. Laker Cat 18
    2:36 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Why the heck does Thamel talk like that? Is that crap an accent?



  3. Stumps
    2:40 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Unlike Manti, my girlfriend is real. But to avoid infringing on her privacy, I can only reveal that her first name is “Tyler”.



  4. Pete Thamel
    2:40 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Seems perfectly reasonable to me that someone would have a 3-year relationship with someone they’ve never met. Also makes plenty of sense that they never Skyped, FaceTimed, Google chatted, or used any other kind of service to actually see each other. Football players at every school, especially Notre Dame, have a hard time finding girlfriends…I mean who wants to date an athlete? Of course he had to turn to the internet instead of actually dating someone. I don’t understand why everyone else finds this so odd. I’ve been dating my online love for 7 years now. I think meeting her in person would ruin things, so I’m gonna keep things as they are.



  5. Sir Brandon
    2:41 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Thamel is about as disingenuous as they cometh. So he equateth getting punk’d (at best) with living out of a car. What a douche. The kid he feeleth badly for is himself.



  6. Sir Brandon
    2:42 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    ^should be thinketh punk’d worse than.



  7. No Love For Thamel-toe
    2:43 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Are you kidding? I can look up my appearances from getting in the Honor Roll from elementary school on Google. Everyone that is in their 20’s (at least) has a paper trail online. Whether it is accomplishments, regular news, obits, they all exist online in some way. If you want to play “investigative journalist” you may want to look at all the sources. Pete Thamel-toe has shown his true colors with this, and I for one hope he gets canned over this huge oversight.



  8. struggler
    2:44 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    ThamelTe’o = Over Rated….



  9. Mark
    2:45 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Eff Pete Thamel. The day this douchebag gets his comeuppance will be a great day.



  10. Mark LIptak
    2:46 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Typical Thamel…try to deflect the fact that he’s vindictive and incompetent.

    Mark Liptak



  11. me
    2:50 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t understand why SI doesn’t fire him.



  12. OleSeven
    2:51 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Thamel is taking the position of every Catholic/Notre Dame loving person out there….”Poor pitiful Manti”…BS…He knew exactly what was going on and the media soaked it up…Their poster boy…Its all bogus. ND in the championship game was bogus…ND every year, Never fails, will be over hyped by the media in pretty much every sport only to let us all down come the end of the year or as soon as they are challenged. This situation is a perfect example of the Media bias for Notre Dame. Thamel looks like an idiot, their AD looks like an idiot, and we all know Manti looks like an idiot. Anyone who has ever lost someone to cancer should be immensely offended that this was perpetrated for publicity.

    What would the reaction be right now Had he won the Heisman? If he wins all of this is much bigger than it already is. It might even be criminal….

    Fraud = wrongful or criminal decption intended to result in financial or personal gain…Heisman winners reap significant benefits. Maybe Matt or another lawyer could clear that up, because I am not sure if this behavior fits the legal definition of fraud or some other criminal action.



  13. yorkinson
    2:52 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Great article at slate.com ripping into Thamel and comparing his reporting on this issue and the reporting on the Honey Badger story.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2013/01/manti_te_o_hoax_lennay_kekua_why_sportswriters_didn_t_catch_on_to_the_notre.html



  14. Steve
    2:54 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Pete Thamel is just what reporting has become today. No facts just opinion of the writer.
    Anybody wonder why Obama has become King and Manti will become rich? The media will cover for the chosen ones and expose the hated ones.
    The Obituary of the United States in 100 years.



  15. tyson
    2:55 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    This whole situation is probably pretty similar to a regional fan site that runs with an entry entitled, “#1 Player in America, Robert Nkemdiche Visiting Kentucky” without checking the facts. If credible people tell you it is true and you want to believe it is, you will think it is and run with it.



  16. Bicycle Seat Sniffer
    2:57 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    I would give anything to meet Pete Thameltoe face-to-face. Just to have the opportunity to call him a hypocrite to his face would be so satisfying.



  17. Doug Gottlieb
    2:58 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Two of the biggest douchebags in sports journalism right there. And I should know.



  18. Helen
    2:59 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Thamel duped!!! NEVER!!! More reasons why he’s just a big jerk!!!!



  19. Steve
    3:00 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    #13 excellent story a must read.



  20. UK Fan
    3:00 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Simple solution to the Thamel, Tipton types…don’t buy their publications.



  21. wow
    3:02 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Just ran into coach cal 45 min ago very nice guy



  22. Taylor Jones
    3:02 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Is Mrs. Tyler Thompson real? Or are we all being catfished? No first name, sketchy…



  23. I Say
    3:05 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Seriously, how has Thamel never gotten his ass kicked by one of the kids families whose life’s he’s tried to ruin



  24. Heisenberg
    3:07 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    #22 haha



  25. ok-cats-computer
    3:10 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve used Lexis Nexis at my job, and it is not a free service. Most companies pay by the time of use or by the search. Lexis tracks your time and/or searches and can provide a detailed history of a user’s research with the bill. It would be interesting to see if Thamel could produce the receipt of payment to Lexis and associated documents to support his claim that he attempted to research the facts prior to writing a substantially inaccurate story.



  26. Scot
    3:12 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    If Eric Bledsoe had a fake girlfriend, I bet Thamel would uncover her Algebra grades.



  27. Mr. Tyler Thompson
    3:14 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    #22 – Yes.



  28. smoke and mirrors
    3:14 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    COME ON PETE,WIPE THE EGG OFF OF YOUR FACE…OH,WAIT A MINUTE…YOU HAVEN’T BEEN OUT TO LUNCH WITH QUICKIE RICKIE AGAIN HAVE YOU?? mAYBE IT’S NOT EGG ON YOUR FACE AFTER ALL.

    DUMBASS



  29. Hal
    3:22 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    this is what people hate about thamel. it’s not that’s he didnt research his article enough or double check the facts given to him or cross reference with other entities.
    it’s when the evidence is overwhelmingly telling you that te’o (and his mon/dad) either was/were behind the hoax, or played a (big) role in the hoax: thamel still doubles down & says te’o had no involvement and was the victim.



  30. mudcreekmark
    3:23 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    I’m sitting here wondering why these people are still defending Te’O? I saw a interview of the head of the athletic program at ND last night on ESPN and he said he interviewed Te’O for 8 hours and came to the conclusion that he is telling the truth that he was not in on the hoax. I have only seen a few of the clips of Te’O crying and telling the story. In one he said that he talked on the phone with her for hours every single night before they went to sleep for four straight months. Are we supposed to believe that someone sit there on the phone with him for hours just to pull off some elaborate hoax? You couldn’t pay me to sit there and talk to someone every single night for hours at a time let alone do if for a big joke.



  31. MemphisCat
    3:45 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    What happenend to looking into her eyes at her bedside and meeting her family. If Notre Dame loses 3-4 games, this would not be a story. It snowballed and T’eo kept lying about it try to cover up he is gay before the NFL found out and didn’t draft him. If anything comes from this is that Thamel will lose any creditablity he had with the few out there that believed him. If he would have spent as much time looking in the facts as he did trying to screw Enes and Eric, they story would have never hit the streets, he is now doing damage control.



  32. mike
    3:52 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Thamel is such a liar. So, he uncovered some inconsistencies in the story and went to the editor. At that time instead of doing a Google search or a background check to onfirm Teo’s story, he prints it. Bullshit. He never vetted the story in any way.



  33. Stickman
    4:00 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    15.tyson Says:
    January 17th, 2013 at 2:55 pm
    “This whole situation is probably pretty similar to a regional fan site that runs with an entry entitled, “#1 Player in America, Robert Nkemdiche Visiting Kentucky” without checking the facts. If credible people tell you it is true and you want to believe it is, you will think it is and run with it.”

    Except that within 30 minutes the “regional fan site” posted a correction, with proof that it was an error on the original reporter’s part.

    What kind of idiot compares that to the Te’o lies?? That’s like comparing a shopping cart hitting a car in the parking lot to a train running over a bus full of nuns and preschoolers.



  34. UK AG ALUMNI
    4:10 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    The real questions is, “Is Te’O really an Eagle Scout ?” .



  35. UKBlue1!
    4:14 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Someone needs to check with the BSA to see if he is a Eagle Scout.



  36. lexslamman
    4:18 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    I hope Pete Thamel grows tastebuds on his anus.



  37. tyson
    4:19 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    33. Letting your childish name-calling slide, I was not comparing Te’o’s story about what happened to anything. I was stating that unfortunately reporting is often times innaccurate.

    Innaccuracies in reporting are innacuracies. Your comparison is invalid.



  38. kymover
    4:20 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Well said #15



  39. Normal Person
    4:51 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    If I were a normal person, and the girl that I “loved” died, I would have attended her funeral. Did Te’O attend his “girlfriends” funeral? Seems wierd if he didnt. Also, I agree with #4 comments. No Skype, No Facetime, nothing. Seems pretty wierd to me.



  40. HackRichards
    5:12 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Just like the NY Times got tired of his shit – Sports Illustrated will too. He’ll probably take over for Jerry Tipton whenever that ole fart hits the road.



  41. Cousins Fake Tooth
    5:23 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    What I found funny was, the guy that interviewed him on ESPN right after her death. He said last night he could not find any death notices, obits, or anything anywhere of this lady. He then asked Te’o about it, and asked if he had any pictures that he could make a copy of. He said Te’o said that the family did not want to release any. THen he asked if he could call the family to get a statement. Te’o then again said the family did not want to take any calls about it. IMO, the guy is involved in this and is not a victim at all.



  42. Simple
    6:05 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Racist much?



  43. TED
    7:03 pm January 17, 2013 Permalink

    Eric Bledsoe, Enes Kantor, Honey Badger? Not one mention on KSR about how he most recently tried to destroy Nerlens career? Step it up



  44. ryannnnn
    3:45 pm January 18, 2013 Permalink

    LOL at all you butthurt Kentucky fans. Thamel is on to your pathetically dirty program and has accomplished more than just about anyone to come from your inbred state.