From Comcast SportsNetSOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Dr. Phil McGraw says Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who masterminded the dead girlfriend hoax involving Manti Te'o, told him the Notre Dame linebacker was not involved in the scheme and that he ended up falling "deeply, romantically" in love with the football player.McGraw spoke on the "Today" show Wednesday, previewing an interview he did with Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old California man who created the fictional woman Te'o knew as Lennay Kekua. Tuiasosopo's interview with McGraw will air in two parts on the "Dr. Phil Show" starting Thursday.Since the hoax was revealed earlier this month, Te'o has said the relationship with Kekua started online and eventually became serious, even though the two only talked on the phone and exchanged electronic messages, never meeting in person. Te'o said he was told of Kekua's "death" from leukemia just hours after his grandmother died in September.McGraw said Tuiasosopo told him the voice of Kekua was his. Tuiasosopo and Te'o have each said that while the Kekua relationship went on for several years, there were times when they weren't in contact."There were many times where Manti and Lennay had broken up. But something would bring them back together whether it was something going on in his life, or in Lennay's life, in this case in my life," Tuiasosopo said.Tuiasosopo said he wanted to end the relationship between Kekua and Te'o before he had to fake Kekua's death."I wanted to end it because everything I had gone through, I finally realized that I just had to move on with my life and I had to get me, Ronaiah, I had to start just living and let this go," Tuiasosopo said.Te'o's publicist, Matthew Hiltzik, declined comment on behalf of Te'o and his family.When the ruse was reported by Deadspin.com on Jan. 16, the report raised the questions about whether Te'o was involved. The story about how he played inspirationally after the deaths of his girlfriend and grandmother led to an outpouring of support from Notre Dame fans. It became the backdrop to Fighting Irish's undefeated regular season and run to the BCS championship game, where they lost to Alabama.Te'o won seven national awards for his play and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. He has denied any involvement from the beginning, and Notre Dame said an investigation of the player's claims backed up his story."The feelings, the pain, the sorrow, that was all real," Te'o told Katie Couric in an interview last week.McGraw says "absolutely, unequivocally" Te'o had no role in creating the hoax.Te'o said he first learned that something was amiss when Keuka called him on Dec. 6, and told him she had faked her death.He told his parents about what had happened while home for Christmas break and called Notre Dame coaches on Dec. 26 to let them know. Notre Dame officials said that interviewed Te'o and retained Stroz Friedberg, a New York computer forensics firm to investigate the case. They learned on Jan. 3 that there were no records indicating Lennay Kekua existed.McGraw said he spent hours with Tuiasosopo and his parents, saying he had a number of life experiences that "damaged this young man in some very serious ways."McGraw said Tuiasosopo had feelings for Te'o."Here we have a young man that fell deeply, romantically in love," McGraw said.McGraw said he asked Tuiasosopo if he is gay."He said, Well, when you put it that way, yes.' Then he caught himself and said, I am confused,'" McGraw said.Te'o also was asked by Couric if he is gay. Te'o said "no" with a laugh. "Far from it. Faaaar from that," he said.Te'o said in the interview with Couric that when Tuiasosopo tweeted him a direct message on Jan. 16 saying he had been behind the hoax. The message read: "I completely accept the consequences to the pain I've caused & it's important that you know the truth before anyone else."Te'o told Couric that Tuiasosopo later called him and explained what he did."He didn't say why. He just explained that he just wanted to help people and that was his way of helping people. Of being someone that he wasn't and trying to connect with somebody on a different level to help them out," Te'o said.Te'o said he didn't say much to Tuiasosopo."I just found that everything that I believed to be my reality wasn't my reality at all," Te'o said.
BOSTON – At this point in training camp with just a couple of preseason games to go, Monday night’s performance might have represented the exclamation point on Anders Bjork’s impressive drive to win an NHL roster spot. The 21-year-old Bjork has scored other goals during this preseason, but Monday night’s tally in Boston’s 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks was his first while skating with prospective linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
“I think we had more ice time together, which helped us get more comfortable and helped me kind of learn their chemistry a bit more,” said Bjork, who finished with 21 goals and 52 points in 29 games for Notre Dame last season. “Obviously, they have a ton of chemistry and they’re very easy to play with, of course, but you know, it’s nice to get more shifts with them and kind of pick up on their patterns and stuff like that.”
In fact, it’s become easy to see Bjork now winning the right wing spot with No. 37 and No. 63 after watching them work together in perfect concert for Boston’s third goal of the night.
Already up by a 2-0 score, Marchand turned over a puck in the Chicago defensive zone while on the forecheck hunt, and managed to work it over to Bergeron for a quick, backhanded saucer pass to the slot area. The alert Bjork stepped up into the high slot and one-timed the puck past Corey Crawford to give the Bruins a three-goal lead on Monday night, and allow all involved a sigh of heavy relief that Boston has found at least one rookie ready to hold down top-6 NHL job.
“He’s got that speed and the smarts to get open and then find the openings in the quiet ice. It was a great play by him just to get open, and for me to see him. He made it really easy,” said Patrice Bergeron. “He skates well, he made some great plays, we just need to keep talking and finding each other more and more on the ice.”
Given the overall scope of Bjork’s performance in camp, his steady presence on a line with Bergeron and Marchand during the preseason and his speedy skill set, the rookie is stating a strong case that he’s ready for NHL prime time. It would be a major training camp shocker to this humble hockey writer if Bjork is anywhere other than in the Bruins lineup when they drop the puck against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 5.
“Yes, it does [look like Bjork is NHL ready]. The competition will stiffen for him and we’ll keep evaluating that. Still, he’s got skill, speed, and courage. He gets to the dirty areas. He’s hard to play against [and gives] second effort on pucks,” said Bruce Cassidy. “It’s not one-and-done with him. And for a young kid, that’s special, to be able to hang in and there and battle for those turnovers. That’s usually the part of the game they have to continue to grind on them.
“But he’s got a lot of that. Maybe that’s Bergy and March’s influence, I’d like to think they have some of that, because that’s their game. Marchy never quits. Bergy never quits. They’re going to be a hard line to play against if they are that dogged on the puck every shift.”
There are still two preseason games remaining before the real thing, so it makes little sense for the Bruins to pronounce Bjork ready for NHL duty until the time comes. Bjork’s combination of blazing skating speed, decision-making and confident swagger on the ice have pushed him to the top of Boston’s prospect list when it comes to being closest to play in the NHL. All were on display in his 12:48 of ice time with a goal and a plus-1 rating to go along with two shots on net, a hit and a takeaway while playing the fast, aggressive hockey that Boston prefers these days.
Bjork could have even had a second goal after he intercepted an Erik Gustafsson outlet pass, but missed the net high with a shot in close while going for his second goal of the game. All in all, it was another hurdle cleared by a talented Notre Dame standout that certainly feels like he’s destined to make the opening day roster, and equally ordained to start in a top-6 right wing role with arguably the best duo in the entire NHL.
It will be interesting to see just how good Bjork can be on a daily basis at the NHL level, and if he can get into becoming the 20 goals/50 points range player that should be in his future.
Now it’s up simply up to Bjork to finish up strong in the preseason when he’s paired with Bergeron and Marchand, and continue on the straight-ahead path toward cracking the Bruins roster for years to come. It would appear he’s poised to “pop” in training camp just as Brandon Carlo did a year ago, and stand as one of those talented youngsters ready to help bridge the gap between talented rookies and established core veterans.
CANTON, Mass. – LeBron James has embraced the fact that Kyrie Irving has moved on, but you get a sense that there’s still a bit of ‘what if. . .?” that James is still thinking about.
"I was wondering if there was something I could have did better to make him not want to be traded," James told reporters during Cleveland’s Media Day on Monday. "Is it the way the season finished, or, was it me coming back in the first place? Was it the coaching changes or the GM change, or, I don't know. I had so many different emotions go through my head."
When told about James wondering if there was something he could have done better to not make him ask for a trade, Irving responded, “Yeah.”
Irving declined to get into specifics, saying, “If we ever have that conversation, I don’t think it’s for anybody but me and him.”
He added, “Even if there are things, it’s really not anybody’s business. It’s between two men. That’s really where it is.”
Irving, a four-time All-Star in his six seasons with the Cavs, asked for a trade request in July.
Cleveland talked to several teams, and were seemingly focused on trying to send him to a team in the Western Conference.
While there was considerable interest, the Cavs didn’t see any deals come across their desk to their liking which is when they rekindled conversations with Boston.
After initially coming to terms of a trade, Cleveland was concerned that Isaiah Thomas’ still-on-the-mend hip injury was more serious than they had initially thought and asked for additional compensation in the form of a first-round pick.
The Celtics indicated during their initial talks that Thomas might not be ready at the start of the season. His timetable still remains uncertain, but reports out of Cleveland indicate that he may be ready to play prior to January.
Both Boston and Cleveland found a happy medium with the trade eventually being Irving to Boston in exchange for Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, a 2018 unprotected first-round pick from Brooklyn along with a 2020 second-round pick Boston got from Miami, that they conveyed to the Cavs.