Ronaiah Tuiasosopo Interview: Twitter Erupts as Hoaxer Tells Story to Dr. Phil

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 31, 2013

Manti Te'o was the victim of a hoax perpetrated by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who attempted to explain himself in a Dr. Phil interview.
Manti Te'o was the victim of a hoax perpetrated by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who attempted to explain himself in a Dr. Phil interview.J. Meric/Getty Images

The Twitter world erupted on Thursday as CBS aired Dr. Phil McGraw's sit-down interview with Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the person behind the online girlfriend hoax surrounding former Notre Dame Fighting Irish football star Manti Te'o.

In one of the most bizarre and confusing sports stories of all time, Tuiasosopo's admissions to Dr. Phil contributed even more to the madness. In the interview, Tuiasosopo said (via Huffington Post) that he dragged the hoax out for so long because he was in love with the All-American linebacker.

Tuiasosopo also asserted that he was the voice of Lennay Kekua, the fake girlfriend of Te'o's, who allegedly died of leukemia. However, he declined to recreate the voice when pressed.

Here's what some prominent personalities had to say as the exclusive one-on-one interview unfolded.

Buzz Feed Sports got things kicked off with the initial explanation that Tuiasosopo offered:

WDNU NewsCenter 16 reporter Barbara Harrington documented the motivation behind the hoax, which apparently wasn't financially motivated:

HuffPost Sports noted the timing of Tuiasosopo's confession to Te'o himself, and the resulting ramifications:

That was then followed by Tuiasosopo's nonsensical rationale for playing along for so long:

Buzz Feed Sports noted the very misguided description that Tuiasosopo gave concerning his sexual orientation:

NBC Latino's Adrian Carrasquillo was looking on, and focused particularly on how hard Dr. Phil was pushing to get Tuiasosopo to do the female voice he's alleged to have done on many phone conversations with Te'o:

Yet another twisted detail, once again tweeted by Buzz Feed Sports:

Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated offered his feedback on one portion of the interview:

Daily Show writer Travon Free provided his opinion, which was summed up by the words Tuiasosopo used to describe his relationship with Te'o at one stage in the discussion: