Manti Te’o isn’t the only football player who’s been fooled online by someone posing as a woman who wants to develop a relationship.
At least four players on the Redskins were duped during the 2012 season by a person posing as a woman who was sending them messages online and hoping to meet them in person, Jeff Darlington of NFL.com reports. Players attempted to meet her in person but nothing ever came of those meetings.
To be clear, this is a far cry from Te’o situation: Te’o spent months telling people a nonexistent person was his girlfriend, then spent more months telling people he was grieving the death of a nonexistent person, and continued that latter story even after he found out the girlfriend didn’t exist. In the case of these Redskins players, it was simply a matter of exchanging online messages with a person they thought was a woman they might be able to meet in person, then never being able to track her down. There is no indication that any of the players lied or did anything improper, or that the person posing as the woman who wanted to meet them attempted to get money or anything else from them.
But the Redskins were concerned enough about the situation that Phillip Daniels, the former NFL defensive end who is now the team’s director of player development, posted a sign in the locker room identifying the woman by her Twitter and Instagram screen names and informing all players to stay away from the woman.
“Once we found out the person wasn’t real, we went from there,” Daniels told NFL.com.
Daniels said young men can be easy targets if they start getting messages through social media that come from an account linked to the picture of an attractive woman — even though they should realize that just because there’s an attractive woman’s picture associated with the account, that doesn’t mean this woman is a real person who really wants to meet them.
“If you think about it, a lot of them are single guys, and they see somebody who looks good in a picture or something,” Daniels said. “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.”
Fortunately for the Redskins, none of their players are as gullible as Manti Te’o.