Manti Te’o’s Girlfriend: A Hoax or Something More?
Heisman trophy finalist, Manti Te'o has had a breakout season on the field as outside linebacker for the number two-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He's creating quit a splash off the field as well.
Deadspin published an article saying Te'o's relationship with long-time online girlfriend, Lennay Kekua was in fact a hoax.
In September of 2012, Notre Dame was on path to an undefeated season, and Te'o was quickly becoming a household favorite for Heisman consideration. Later that same month Te'o suffered two deaths. The first was his grandmother and then only hours later his online girlfriend, 22 year-old Stanford University student Lennay Kekua who died of leukemia after being the involved in a serious car crash.
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Deadspin started investigating the story after receiving an anonymous email tip last week. They searched Google for any evidence of Kekua's life. All that showed up were stories of how her death has inspired Te'o's football greatness.
Stanford released a statement to CNN stating there was never any record of Kekua ever being a registered student. All Deadspin could find on the Internet was a suspect Twitter and Instagram account.
On December 26, 2012, Te'o received a call from a woman, with the same voice, allegedly claiming to be Kekua.
Notre Dame Athletics Director, Jack Swarbrick maintains Te'o was "duped" by what is known in the online community as a "Catfish;" an online predator that creates an entirely new online life, forming relationships and taking advantage of unsuspecting users.
"To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating," Te'o told ESPN.
Then the story gets even stranger. Arizona Cardinals fullback, Reagan Mauia and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Troy Polamalu both claim to know the real Lennay Kekua before her and Te'o were involved.
"I don't think Manti was even in the picture, but she and I became good friends. We would talk off and on, just checking up on each other kind of thing. I am close to her family," Mauia told ESPN.
Then Kekua seemingly resurfaced on her Twitter account Wednesday night saying:
"It isn't fair to drag Reagan and Troy into this. A lot of truths and myths need to be addressed here, and they will be at noon PST tomorrow."
Is Te'o involved or is he really just that naïve? I guess the world will know by noon today.
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