Bear with us, because we’re still wrapping our heads around this story. We don’t even know how to go about this because it’s so twisted. Sports fans are obviously acquainted with the Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and the sad saga of his recently deceased girlfriend, Lennay Kekua. Lennay had leukemia, diagnosed after being in a car accident, and Te’o was the model boyfriend and held her hand literally and figuratively in every way, until the day she passed away. It’s a story that moved a nation. Now, news has broken that — and we’re quite shocked typing this — Lennay never actually existed. We hear your WTF and raise you one. Deadspin claims that the whole story, this inspirational and heartwarming tale of love and loyalty … is a hoax. Because, according to the site, Social Security Administration records reveal that this no Lennay, so “her” whole identity, including her Twitter and Instagram account and photographs, etc, were all made up and spun into the story we all believed.
Considering she was supposed to be from Stanford, the university doesn’t have any records of her existence, either. There are no records of her death and hardly any online evidence of her at all. What’s even more weird? Those photographs that were supposedly Lennay? They’re of a completely random 22-year-old California woman who is most definitely not Manti Te’o’s girlfriend, alive or deceased. She’s never even met him. So yeah, we know how Notre Dame likes to create heroic myths about their players, but what the hell is this? It seems that, allegedly, Lennay was made up by a man (we’re going to find out more of who “he” is when more information breaks) to create more publicity for Manti Te’o’s Heisman campaign.
Some are saying that Manti Te’o was in cahoots with the whole scheme, but louder voices claim he was duped. The athlete himself has released a statement saying, “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.” He concluded with, “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.” The debate on whether or not he was involved in the hoax will continue for sometime, we reckon. We’re sickened by whoever it was, though.
[Photo: Getty Images]