Scoop: One of the most inspirational stories in all of college sports could be a complete fabrication. Deadspin is reporting that Manti Te’o’s deceased girlfriend Lennay Kekua never existed to begin with.
Significance: If you thought that Manti losing the BCS National Championship Game and his rejection of the Senior Bowl were a big deal, then you are about to be shocked. Manti received adulation across the nation after the story broke that all within 24 hours, both his grandmother and his girlfriend passed away. Te’o’s story has been an inspiration to Notre Dame fans, and tons of money has been raised since Kekua’s losing battle to leukemia.
Story: Manti Te’o’s grandmother dies. Less than 24 hours later, his girlfriend Lennay Kekua dies of leukemia. Just days later, Te’o has a record 12 tackles against Michigan State, leading the Irish to a huge win. The only problem? There is no record of a girl named Lennay Kekua in birth records, death records, or online. Even her Twitter account’s photos depict a woman who is not Lennay Kekua. When the woman saw her photos being broadcast on TV and the Internet, she knew something was wrong.
According to the actual woman whose pictures “Lennay” was using, one of the photos was never used on the public Internet; instead it was sent in a direct message to a guy named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo – a guy who happens to be family friends with none other than Manti Te’o.
It looks like this woman never existed, and that means that all the lovey dovey tweets Te’o and Lennay (@LoveMSMK) shared were all part of the scheme.
— Andrew Jonas (@Real_Jonasty816) January 6, 2013
If the whole story is a terribly elaborate hoax, it’s fascinating the level of detail that went into such a crafty scheme, and we aren’t completely sure what the motive was here. But if you want the entire scoop, check out the article on Deadspin.
This Manti Te’o story is so bizarre I don’t even know if I believe it or not. I can’t tell what the real hoax is.
— Arnold Woods (@ArnoldtheThird) January 16, 2013