Manti Te’o, Notre Dame statements claim LB was victim of hoax
Manti Te’o and Notre Dame have both issued statements in response to Deadspin’s story that Te’o’s girlfriend is a hoax, and they both say the linebacker was a victim in the situation. You can read our summarized story on it, or go to Deadspin for the original, full story.
Here is the statement from Notre Dame, which came through first.
“On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators.”
Here is Te’o’s statement on the matter:
“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.”
I’ll go on record saying it now: I’m not buying either of their statements. If Te’o was a victim, where did the stories about him meeting her after the Stanford-Notre Dame game come from? Where did the story about them going to Hawaii come from? Who fabricated those stories?
And, why in an October interview with ESPN, did Te’o say he had met her?
“Possible the most beautiful girl that I’ve ever met,” Te’o said of his supposed girlfriend during an Oct. 2 interview with ESPN. “Not because of her physical beauty, but the beauty of her character, who she is. She was just that person that I turned to.
“Even though she was fighting leukemia and fighting various things, she always found time to serve someone else. Her biggest thing to me was always be humble and keep god as my number one closest friend. And as long as I strive to honor him, I’ll be honoring her.
“Her whole thing was not about herself. That’s why we’re so close.”
Yup, his story doesn’t add up. He also told ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski that his girlfriend’s family preferred not to be contacted for his story and that they preferred not to provide photos.