Maybe Manti Te'o will fit in the NFL better than we all thought.
In mid-December, well before it was reported that Te'o was duped in a "catfishing" scheme by a perpetrator who made up a woman named Lennay Kekua that Te'o believed to be his girlfriend, the Washington Redskins were told to avoid a person who was initiating contact with players by using a fake identity, NFL.com reported.
The online name of the person in question was @RedRidnH00d, "her" pseudonym was Sidney Ackerman and the report said at least four Redskins had online contact with the person. The players were told to avoid the person running the scam via a memo that went up on the wall of the team's locker room.
"If you think about it, a lot of them are single guys, and they see somebody who looks good in a picture or something," Redskins director of player development Phillip Daniels told NFL.com. "In many cases, it involves someone who is a fan of the team, so they'll start talking about the team. You have to recognize that something just isn't right.
"But you're talking about a lot of guys who are single. I don't fault the guys. I fault the people who are doing this crazy stuff, causing these problems."
The report said "Ackerman" used pictures of adult entertainer C.J. Miles to start conversations with the players. The Facebook and Twitter accounts used by the imposter were taken down once it was clear NFL.com was going to publish the story. Another Twitter account, @RideAndDieChick, also used Miles' pictures as an avatar and was followed by 22 verified NFL players and six verified NBA players, the report said, and according to NFL.com the person operating that account claimed to have had conversations with three prominent football players. That account was deactivated this week.
This type of story most likely isn't limited to the Redskins and Te'o - those are just the ones we now know about. Te'o's much publicized hoax probably had many people, including famous athletes, doing a double take and figuring out if women they had befriended online were in fact, real. While the Redskins' scam artist didn't get as far as those who pulled the trick on Te'o, it's obviously an issue that, at very least, professional teams and the leagues themselves will have to deal with, including educating their players.
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