Deadspin broke the news that broke the Internet this afternoon that Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o’s from Notre Dame’s famed dead girlfriend was a long running and elaborate hoax. It’s a very complicated story, but was summarized by Deadspin writers Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey in these paragraphs:
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.”
Deadspin identifies Te’o friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo as the man behind the creation of the fake girlfriend and suggests that friends of Tuiasosopo’s believe Te’o was aware of the hoax.
This evening Notre Dame released a statement claiming that Te’o was hoaxed and that he never met Kekua. The problem is that past statements by Te’o and his family don’t jibe with the new claim that this was an online-only relationship.
At the end of the day there are probably three possible outcomes to the story, once all the facts are in…
- Te’o is incredibly naive and really was hoaxed by Tuiasosopo and possibly an unknown female.
- Te’o was complicit in the fictional story of his relationship with Kekua.
- Te’o and Tuiasosopo were involved in a relationship and created the hoax girlfriend to divert attention.
It’s anyone guess at this point which of those is true…