We aren’t a sports radio station by any stretch of the imagination, but every now and then a story comes along that’s so ridiculous, we feel the need to report back to you all.
Have you heard of Manti Te’o? He’s a star linebacker for Notre Dame and a Heisman Trophy finalist who’s expected to be snatched up in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Te’o became a symbol of strength and perseverance in the sports world last year when news broke that both his grandmother and girlfriend had died within six hours of each other. He went on to play that weekend for the Fighting Irish and delivered some of his most impressive stats of the season.
Well, we hate to ruin this heartwarming story, but it turns out his so-called girlfriend never even existed!
According to Deadspin, there are no official records or hard evidence proving that his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, was an actual person. Photos circulated after her death from leukemia are actually of a woman who lives in Torrance!
Despite reports that Te’o had spent time with his girlfriend in Hawaii, the athlete is now claiming their relationship only consisted of online chats and phone calls.
“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,” Te’o said in a statement. “To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.”
Te’o came to Notre Dame in late December to inform officials of the hoax and the university began its own investigation, however, that hasn’t stopped critics from alleging that Te’o might’ve been in on the ruse for PR purposes.
The person who created Kekua’s online profiles was supposedly friends with Te’o and they were in communication with each other throughout the football season.
Deadspin published a lengthy investigation on the controversy, which forced Manti go public. He is expected to address the media sometime today.
- Do you think Manti Te’o was an innocent victim or was he in on the hoax the whole time? Vote in our poll!
-Sarah Carroll, 97.1 AMP Radio/Los Angeles