All college football season long, one of the most uplifting and inspirational stories was how Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker and team leader Manti Te’o overcame the death of his grandmother and girlfriend on the same day, eventually leading his team to the National Championship game.
Te’o did indeed lose his grandmother on September 12, 2012, but according to a report from Deadspin, Te’o didn’t lose his girlfriend. In fact according to Deadspin, the girlfriend Te’o said he lost never existed.
In an extensive report, Deadpsin gives evidence that heavily suggests that Manti Te’o never actually met the woman known as Lennay Kekuna, and that everything about her was made up by a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
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.
According to Deadspin, Te’o has a prior relationship with Tuiasosopo as Twitter retweets suggest they’ve known each other for some time and appear close. In the report, Deadspin says that a friend of Tuiasosopo is “80 percent sure” that Te’o knew Kekuna never existed and rolled with the hoax anyways.
A friend of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo told us he was “80 percent sure” that Manti Te’o was “in on it,” and that the two perpetrated Lennay Kekua’s death with publicity in mind. According to the friend, there were numerous photos of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and Te’o together on Tuiasosopo’s now-deleted Instagram account.
The sheer quantity of falsehoods about Manti’s relationship with Lennay makes that friend, and another relative of Ronaiah’s, believe Te’o had to know the truth. Mostly, though, the friend simply couldn’t believe that Te’o would be stupid enough—or Ronaiah Tuiasosopo clever enough—to sustain the relationship for nearly a year.
If this is indeed a hoax, it’s one of the most sickening things to happen in college football in some time. But right now there is only allegations and nothing has been confirmed. Deadspin is reporting with great confidence that what they’re reporting is indeed the truth, and as of this moment no one is guilty of anything.