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Manti Te’o's girlfriend, who supposedly died in September, never existed according to Deadspin


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#1 bigfetz

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 03:36 PM

The tale of Manti Te'o playing through a heavy heart over the passing of his girlfriend during the season has been turned upside down by a baffling, bombshell story from Deadspin.
The passing of Lennay Kekua's death after a battle with leukemia in September, just after Te'o's grandmother died, and how the Notre Dame linebacker played through the heartbreak just a few days later against Michigan State became one of the biggest college football stories of the season. It's one of the reasons Te'o, a Heisman Trophy finalist who led Notre Dame to an undefeated season, became a huge star over fall of 2012.
Deadspin said it's all a hoax. The story says that Lennay Kekua is entirely made up. The pictures of her are another woman's Facebook pictures, a woman who has never met Te'o. Deadspin said it could not find any online evidence she existed, outside of a few Twitter and Instagram accounts. Even though Kekua was said to be a student at Stanford, the university has no record of her. From what Deadspin's story tells us, the entire thing with Te'o and his deceased girlfriend - which was played up during the season to mythical proportions, including on a cover story in Sports Illustrated - never happened.
Te'o, through a statement by Notre Dame, said he was the victim of this hoax.

This was the statement from Notre Dame's Facebook page:


Notre Dame Statement: Manti Te’o
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.
Dennis Brown
University Spokesman | Assistant Vice President


If this was a hoax and Te'o was simply a victim, it was elaborate and he fell hook, line and sinker for it.
Here's an example of Te'o's comments about Lennay Kekua during the season, from the Tulsa World:


"My girlfriend's service was the day of Michigan's game," he said recently. "I knew when they were going to close the casket and all of that stuff, and it was during walk-through. I remember I asked Coach (Bob) Diaco, 'Coach what time is it?' And he said, 'It's 12:01.'
"That would be 9:01 California time and nine o'clock is when they closed the casket for my girlfriend. So I had a moment then."


It's a heck of a thing to read again after the Deadspin revelations.
Until Te'o provides specific details of how he was taken by this hoax, and how he believed he had a girlfriend who never existed and then mourned her death with his teammates and Notre Dame fans supporting him, the circumstances will remain a bit confusing. The relationship apparently began on Twitter, according to Deadspin. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a classmate of the woman whose Facebook photos were passed off as Kekua, knew Te'o, and was said in the story to have "created" Kekua. The Deadspin story doesn't explain, for example, how Te'o believed he was talking to Kekua every night until they fell asleep on the phone, as was told in an ESPN.com story.
This is without question one of the strangest stories in a long time. It's certainly not a good look for Te'o, who spent 2012 as one of the most beloved figures in college football, at least until he fully explains all of the details about what happened.
UPDATE: Here is Te'o's statement, that was first published by ESPN.com:


"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."


- - -

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/manti-te-os-girlfriend-supposedly-died-september-never-225622613--ncaaf.html

Edited by bigfetz, January 16, 2013 - 03:38 PM.


#2    

   

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 03:43 PM

This is insane!

yo.


#3 Windu

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 03:53 PM

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this one.

Pau Gasol is GONE


#4    

   

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 03:56 PM

Has this made its way to more mainstream yet ala Sportscenter? Cause if true, I hope so, he deserves to exposed.

yo.


#5 bigfetz

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 03:57 PM

I can't believe this kind of guy gets into a internet relationship and never really knew the person. lol

#6 bigfetz

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 03:57 PM

Has this made its way to more mainstream yet ala Sportscenter? Cause if true, I hope so, he deserves to exposed.

Well someone tricked him apparently

#7 Real Deal

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 04:03 PM

I'm serious...they should make an episode of Catfish for him, somehow. A special episode.

Then, at the end, it's revealed that he was in on it this entire time (because he probably was).

#8 Projekt

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 04:04 PM

Manti wasn't tricked. Read the report and read past articles. This guy claims to have met her, talked to her on the phone (who was actually a guy), and his father is quoted as saying she would visit him "every once in awhile" in Hawaii. There's much more as well.

Edited by Projekt, January 16, 2013 - 04:05 PM.


#9 Windu

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 04:11 PM

Has this made its way to more mainstream yet ala Sportscenter? Cause if true, I hope so, he deserves to exposed.


yeh

Pau Gasol is GONE


#10 magicbalala245

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 04:40 PM

Teo is a [expletive]ing bum and should lose all his defensive awards in college football due to his performance and America media feeling sympathy this guy almost could of won the heisman for him. This guy is a joke and a bum
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#11 villany

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 05:07 PM

wow what a piece of ****

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#12 L.A.K.E.R

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 05:40 PM

...wut

#13 BleedPurple&Gold

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 05:47 PM

well damn!

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#14 Bynumite17

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 05:51 PM

What is this all about? Who is this guy? Somebody inform me, I've been gone for the past year!

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#15 Instigator

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 06:18 PM

most overrated lb ever

#16 Instigator

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 06:23 PM

Also a lot of funny pictures on tigerdroppings:

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#17 West Coast

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 06:25 PM

This is so freaking bizarre I don't know who to believe.

Things just don't add up.

1) Why was Te'o the so called target of all this? It couldn't be a money thing because the girl "died" so its not like she could benefit from anything.

2) They met in 2009, it really took almost 4 years to figure out this girl wasn't who he thought she was? What kind of "relationship" is that?

Still just bizarre. I mean Te'o could be the target of a hoax, but there's still a lot of questions that need to be answered about this



Oh and a sidenote, Max Kellerman read my tweet that I sent to him on air: :laughing:

"@wcsports_ Makes sense now, Manti Te’o wasn’t missing tackles versus Alabama, he was trying to hug his girlfriend."

#18 Projekt

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 07:33 PM

An Arizona Cardinal football player is saying he met this woman. What the [expletive] is going on?

#19 Windu

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 07:43 PM

Conspiracy Theory! :omg:

Pau Gasol is GONE


#20 BleedPurple&Gold

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Posted January 16, 2013 - 08:30 PM

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said he believes Manti Te'o was victim of a hoax and he thinks just as highly of the linebacker as he always did.
Swarbrick held a press conference to discuss a Deadspin story that claimed Te'o's girlfriend Lennay Kekua, who supposedly died of leukemia in September, was made up. Notre Dame and Te'o released statements that claimed that he was the victim of a hoax. Te'o said in that statement he was a victim of "someone's sick jokes and constant lies."
Swarbrick, calling it a "very elaborate, very sophisticated hoax," said he met with Te'o and trusts what he heard from him.
"I want to stress, as someone who has been engaged in this as anyone the past couple weeks, that nothing I have learned has shaken my faith in Manti Te’o one iota," Swarbrick said. "The same great young man, great student and great athlete that we have been so proud to have as a member of our family is the same guy tonight, unchanged in any way except for, as he indicated in the statement, his release, the embarrassment of being a victim in this case."
Swarbrick said Te'o's personality left him open to this hoax.

"In many ways, Manti was the perfect mark, because he is a guy who is so willing to believe in others and so ready to help, that as this hoax played out in a way that called upon those tendencies of Manti, it roped him more and more into the trap," Swarbrick said. "He was not a person who would have a second thought about offering his assistance and help."
Swarbrick said Te'o got a call when he was in Orlando for a college football awards show, which was Dec. 6, from a number he knew to be Kekua. The voice on the other end was the one he knew as Kekua, Swarbrick said, and the person on the other end who Te'o had known to be his girlfriend, who he thought died in September, told Te'o she was not dead.
"Manti was very unnerved by that, as you might imagine," Swarbrick said.
That night Te’o won three awards – the Bednarik Award for top defensive player, the Walter Camp Foundation player of the year award and the Maxwell Award, given to the top player in the nation.
Swarbrick said the woman tried to restart the relationship after that phone call.
Te'o called Notre Dame's coaches early in the morning on Dec. 26 to tell them what happened, Swarbrick said. That's when the university started looking into the matter including two meetings between Swarbrick and Te'o, the first of which lasted an hour and 45 minutes. Swarbrick said he was comfortable with the consistencies in Te'o's story. Swarbrick said Notre Dame hired private investigators to look into the hoax.
Swarbrick said it was exclusively an online relationship. He deferred many questions to Te'o, who he said may talk tomorrow.
"At the end of the day, this is Manti’s story to tell and we believe he should have a right to tell it, which he is going to do," Swarbrick said.
After the news broke, ESPN showed a clip of a interview of Te'o from Oct. 2 of last year, and he mentions talking to her on the phone every night, and seems to insinuate he met her.
"I'd seen the most beautiful girl I ever met, not because of her physical beauty but the beauty of her character and who she is," Te'o said in the ESPN interview. "Even though she was fighting leukemia and fighting various things, she always found time to serve someone else."
A South Bend Tribune story from Oct. 12 said he met Kekua at Stanford. (That story appears to have been taken down by the South Bend Tribune on Wednesday even, but here it is from when it was republished in the Deseret News.)
Swarbrick said Te'o talked of "meeting" Kekua. When he followed up on that statement with Te'o, Swarbrick said that Te'o explained that he was referring to meeting her online.
"Several meetings were set up where Lennay never showed," Swarbrick said.
Swarbrick referred to a documentary called "Catfish," which he said reflected what happened in this case, as Te'o got fooled by a scheme.
"Every single thing about this, until that day in the first week of December, was real to Manti," Swarbrick said. "There was no suspicion it wasn’t. No belief it might not be. The pain was real. The grief was real. The affection was real. That’s the nature of this sad, cruel game."
Te'o played a few days after the supposed death of his girlfriend, and him playing in that game against Michigan State - and the outpouring of support from his teammates, Notre Dame fans and all college football fans - was a major storyline through last college football season.
Here's Te'o's ESPN postgame interview from right after the Michigan State game:
Swarbrick was asked if he thought Te'o bringing attention to the story was disingenuous at all. He went back to Te'o's caring personality.
"Then you don’t know Manti, that’s my answer," Swarbrick said. "Manti lives his life on his sleeve.
"The more trouble she was in – car accident, leukemia, failing health – the more engaged he would become, the more focused he would become."
A little more than a half hour into the press conference, Swarbrick became choked up and took a moment before continuing.
"The single most trusting human being I've ever met will never be able to trust the same away again in his life," Swarbrick said. "That's an incredible tragedy."


http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/notre-dame-stands-manti-te-o-says-perfect-012348590--ncaaf.html

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