The story's details have led many to believe Te'o was not a victim, but a perpetrator of the hoax. Te'o's conflicting statements seem to indicate that he stretched the truth at the very least—if there was no Kekua, whom did he speak with on the phone every night and with whom did he lock eyes after the Stanford game?
A friend of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the person allegedly behind Kekua's online presence, told Deadspin he was "80 percent sure" that Manti Te'o was "in on it," for publicity purposes. The story also claims that friends of Tuiasosopo believe he not only created Kekua, but also that Te'o was not the only victim to be duped by her existence. Tuiasosopo's friend Reagan Maui'a, a fullback for the Arizona Cardinals, responded to the news of the Kekua hoax by saying "No, she is real."
"I don't think Manti was even in the picture, but she and I became good friends. We would talk off and on, just checking up on each other kind of thing. I am close to her family," he told ESPN. "When she was going through the loss of her father, I offered a comforting shoulder and just someone to bounce her emotions off. That was just from meeting her in Samoa."
Maui'a described Kekua's appearance as well.
"She was tall," he said. "Volleyball-type of physique. She was athletic, tall, beautiful. Long hair. Polynesian. She looked like a model."
Te'o originally agreed to an interview with ESPN on Thursday, but has since backed out, according to SB Nation.