Manti Te’o has been in the spotlight all season but this is one story that will not have a happy ending. Te’o led the Notre Dame Fighting Irish back into the national spotlight on their way to the BCS national championship game.
Little over one week later Te’o is national news and it is not his on the field accolades that are the subject.
As reported this afternoon by Deadspin.com, Lennay Marie Kekua the girlfriend of Manti Te’o never existed, she never had leukemia, never was in a car accident, etc. The story of Te’o and Kekua was highly publicised about how close of a relationship they had and how he supported her through her illness up to her death. The article went on to state that the girl did not exist and insinuate that Te’o was involved in the hoax.
Notre Dame officials responded this afternoon stating Te’o came forward December 26 and explained that he was a victim of a sick hoax and they were investigating the motive of the hoax. Notre Dame also stated that authorities are still investigating the incident.
Te’o issued a statement to ESPN stating the following, “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.”
Te’o expressed that he is a victim and until it has not been is proven otherwise. Te’o should be considered a victim of a sick plot to take advantage of and deceive a young trusting man and his side of the story needs to be told.