Manti Te'o girlfriend, does not exist, inspirational story is a hoax

Did Manti Te'o get Catfished? Or was he in on it?

1/16/13 in NCAAF   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o (5) prior to the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Alabama won 42-14.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY SportsOne of the most inspirational stories of the college football season was Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o playing through the illness and death of his girlfriend.

She was in a car accident at one point, and had leukemia, and then died in September.

Te'o played through it, and didn't even attend his girlfriend's funeral. He led Notre Dame to an upset victory over Michigan State a few days later.

Everyone jumped all over the story, and gave Te'o a ton of credit for playing through adversity, and playing through the pain of his girlfriend's death.

The story was one of the factors that contributed to Te'o's Heisman campaign, and was consistently mentioned as a huge storyline and the motivation behind Te'o's incredible season.

The night after her funeral in California, Te'o had another monster game against Michigan.

Te'o, after the game:
"All she wanted was some white roses. So I sent her roses and sent her two picks along with that."

According to a rather lengthy Deadspin report, the whole story was a hoax. The girlfriend, the car accident, the cancer the death, EVERYTHING was fabricated.

From the Deadspin report:
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."

Blog Photo - Manti Te'o girlfriend, does not exist, inspirational story is a hoaxAs of now, it's unclear whether or not Manti Te'o was in on the deception from the start.

It may have started as a prank, possibly by someone named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a cousin of former NFL QB Marques Tuiasosopo.

Either way, it's pretty obvious that Te'o eventually learned the truth, and continued to lie to the media about it.

Whether Te'o was duped or not, it's clear that the stories about him meeting her after the Notre Dame-Stanford game in 2009 were patently false.

The pictures that were released of her are not her, and are in fact of a California woman who has never had Leukemia, and is very much alive.

Even if Te'o got fooled by someone, it's clear that he must have known the jig was up at some point, and continued to deceive the media, blatantly lying about the situation.

Both Te'o and Tuiasosopo declined comment.

After the Deadspin report was released, Notre Dame released a statement about the situation:
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.

The story started developing when someone sent in a tip to Deadspin to check up on his girlfriend. As they researched, they immediately found many discrepancies with the stories, and did exhaustive research over several months to try to get to the bottom of it.

This is a pretty insane revelation, and you have to wonder how much of this was a case of Te'o being fooled, and how much of it was him intentionally deceiving fans and media.

Realistically, would the best player on an insanely popular Notre Dame football team have an online-only relationship?

There were a lot of question marks around Manti Te'o before this story. He was absolutely exposed in the BCS Championship game. His dad also appears to be a nut job. He recently decline an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl. Personally, I believe it's because he's concerned that he'll once again get exposed.

And now, this.

UPDATE: Te'o has released a statement about this situation. Via ESPN:
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.
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1/17/13   |   mojo   |   4372 respect

Hello?  Yes this is…

1/17/13   |   xtra_ill   |   539 respect

(Edited by xtra_ill)

BUSTED! He lied.

Someone took that snapshot of the South Bend Tribune webpage which was a good idea, because you can't pull it up on their webpage now.

*Edit* If you didn't click on the link before Friday, now its too late because it says "Not Found"  surprise
There was a whole article there from back in September where he talked about exchanging phone numbers with the "girlfriend" at the Stanford game and how she visited him and his family in Hawaii.

I smell a cover up.

1/16/13   |   kobe_lova   |   61971 respect


1/16/13   |   marcus_nyce   |   27348 respect

He lied about meeting her. He lied about the calls. His father made up stuff. I seriously don't think the whole truth has come out yet. (No rumory pun intended)

1/16/13   |   Soxfest   |   768 respect

Teo is a 100% LIAR.....................Naive Tarnished Dome BOY!

1/16/13   |   Scott   |   53843 respect

The happiest man in the world of sports right now?

Lance Armstrong

1/16/13   |   Jess   |   34885 respect

This is just insane and amusing on all fronts, regardless of the nature, what exactly happened, how he is or isn't involved...the more this story develops the crazier it gets.

1/16/13   |   huskerdoug2009   |   2790 respect

I am no expert, but with the media that was all over Notre Dame since basically the day the season started, how did this not get mentioned sooner than now?  Telling me his family didn't know that his girlfriend hadn't died?  I hope that when all is said and done that the truth comes out.  Sure seems like this is worse than Lance Armstrong's steroid use.

1/16/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

A football star at Notre Dame felt the need to make up a girlfriend? Even I've never stooped that low.