Stories don’t get more imaginable than this. Manti Te’o defied logic and sanity with a hoax that no one seems able to explain: inventing a girlfriend and her death during his amazing season with Notre Dame, gaining national sympathy and attention while almost winning the Heisman Trophy and the BCS national championship.
If you haven’t read the Deadspin revelation, this part sums it up perfectly: Remember Lennay Kekua, the girlfriend Manti Te’o had? Who died the same day his grandmother died? The one who asked him to play against Michigan State?
There was no Lennay Kekua. Lennay Kekua did not meet Manti Te’o after the Stanford game in 2009. Lennay Kekua did not attend Stanford. Lennay Kekua never visited Manti Te’o in Hawaii. Lennay Kekua was not in a car accident. Lennay Kekua did not talk to Manti Te’o every night on the telephone. She was not diagnosed with cancer, did not spend time in the hospital, did not engage in a lengthy battle with leukemia. She never had a bone marrow transplant. She was not released from the hospital on Sept. 10, nor did Brian Te’o congratulate her for this over the telephone. She did not insist that Manti Te’o play in the Michigan State or Michigan games, and did not request he send white flowers to her funeral. Her favorite color was not white. Her brother, Koa, did not inform Manti Te’o that she was dead. Koa did not exist. Her funeral did not take place in Carson, Calif., and her casket was not closed at 9 a.m. exactly. She was not laid to rest. Lennay Kekua’s last words to Manti Te’o were not “I love you.”
Yes. A hoax. Now the real story is how deeply was Te’o involved in it: Inventing all the fake twitter accounts and pictures from the beginning, or was he partially a victim. According to the university and Te’o himself, he’s not to blame.
According to the University, On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators.
According to Te’o, This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her. To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating. It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother’s death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life. I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been. In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was. Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I’m looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft.
As he heads into the next stage of his career, getting ready for the NFL draft, a new light, the one of a liar about something no one ever dreamed lying about, is shined upon Te’o, who was a media darling all through this season with the Irish, partially because of his tragic story, that turned out to be a little less tragic.
As the dust settles from one of the weirdest stories to come out of College Football in the last few years, comes an even crazier theory, offered by redditor uhhhhmmmm: This Ronaiah Tuiasosopo is the mastermind behind all this, he’s crazy. He knew that Cardinals fullback guy and wanted to mess with him so he introduced him to someone who he called Lennay who was also in on it. They chatted a bit and met once more but that was it. They ended contact or whatever. Roniah got bored and wanted a new person so he found Te’o. He did the same thing, hell maybe they did even meet, it was this person called “Lennay”. It was an assumed name, hell maybe they did meet a couple times. Roniah has to make a twitter for this woman but decides instead of using the actual woman to take photos from some old classmate for some reason. Then they decide to really mess with him and tell him that she got in a car crash. Then they say she got leukemia. Te’o is, if we’re being honest, pretty dumb (ok, fine, an idiot), and way too trusting, and believes all of this. She “dies”, they develop a way for Te’o to not go to the funeral/ever really see her or the “family”, and that’s the end of that.