When the St. Louis Rams selected gay football player Michael Sam as the 249th overall pick in the NFL draft, some of us chuckled because we knew that several gay players were already chosen ahead of him.
The other gay players chose not to come out as openly gay out of fear that their sexual preferences might affect their draft status. Sam was hailed as a "hero," but he has since been exposed as an opportunist who came out for financial gain. There is no doubt that Sam's sexual preferences for men affected his draft status.
Sources claim NY Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr (pictured above) was so worried about rumors of his sexual preference affecting his draft status that he, or someone in his camp, created an elaborate Manti Te'o-style hoax to deflect such rumors.
A few months before the draft, a website that caters to sports groupies called Ballerallert.com named "model" Erica Mendez as Beckham's fiancée. Within weeks a website called www.iamericamendez.com sprang up. Erica, the "model" posted sexy photos of herself that were republished by other blogs. The ruse worked: Beckham was chosen 12th overall in the draft.
All the while, Beckham never disputed the existence of his "fiancee" -- even when NBC's 'Tonight Show' host Jimmy Fallon linked Beckham to the model during Beckham's appearance on the show.
In fact, Beckham didn't complain about Mendez until after the draft, when Mendez made explosive allegations about Beckham in an interview with Radaronline.com. She even claimed they had a love child together.
Beckham would later claim he didn't say anything about his fake fiancee because he thought the story would eventually defuse.
TheBigLead looked into the allegations and discovered that Mendez did not actually exist.
By using a reverse Google image search, TheBigLead tracked the images used on Mendez's website to a California photographer, Milan Carter, who confirmed that Dior Patterson is the woman in the photos. A photo used by the NY Daily News last week was actually Patterson's cousin, Jade Morning, 19.
It's interesting to note that Beckham, Patterson, Morning, and Carter did not complain about the copyrights issues of the photos -- even when major publications republished the photos as Erica Mendez -- until last week.
Did Beckham forget to pay someone for helping him with the Erica Mendez ruse? And what is Balleralert.com's role in the hoax?