Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o is involved in one of the most disturbing and ugly hoaxes to ever hit the college football world.
Te’o’s inspiring story of losing his grandmother and girlfriend within two days and overcoming the emotion to put on an incredible performance took the college football world by storm, but the story about his girlfriend is allegedly a hoax.
As you would expect, Te’o issued a statment about the horrible story:
“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,” Te’o said in his statement. “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.”
It is such an ugly story.
Unfortunately for Te’o, this could really hurt his draft stock.
The star linebacker is loved for his leadership and intangibles. His character is believed to be a big part of why he could be drafted so high, but that has taken a hit.
One NFL scout has said that Te’o was removed from his team’s draft board altogether, and more teams could follow.
This type of story is unprecedented, but it surely won’t be good for his draft stock.
It is hard to believe that Te’o was a victim of this hoax, but if he was, he has to go down as one of the most gullible and irresponsible football players to ever reach the national landscape.
If he was the victim of a hoax, it is a sick twist to one of college football’s most disgusting stories.