As if the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend situation wasn’t bizarre enough already, Former Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Mauia added more confusion to the mystery on Wednesday night. Te’o and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick say the star linebacker was the victim of an elaborate hoax, and that he had an online and telephonic relationship with a woman that never actually existed. Mauia, on the other hand, says that Lennay Kekua did exist. In fact, he says he met her.
“This was before her and Manti,” Mauia told ESPN.com, explaining that he met Kekua when he and other Polynesian players, including Troy Polamalu, went to do charity work in American Samoa in June 2011. “I don’t think Manti was even in the picture, but she and I became good friends. We would talk off and on, just checking up on each other kind of thing. I am close to her family. When she was going through the loss of her father, I was — I offered a comforting shoulder and just someone to bounce her emotions off. That was just from meeting her in Samoa.
“She was tall. Volleyball-type of physique. She was athletic, tall, beautiful. Long hair. Polynesian. She looked like a model … ”
Mauia said he has been lead to believe that Kekua’s mother has been operating her Twitter account, but that he never met the mother. When a reporter told him that word is circulating that Kekua never actually existed he confidently replied, “No, she is real.”
If you weren’t already lost, you should be now. Is Mauia saying that there is a different Lennay Kekua, or is he talking about the same girl? Did she indeed die, thus explaining why her mother would be operating her Twitter account?
His assertion that he met her “before her and Manti” would seem to indicate that he believes Te’o did eventually become involved with Kekua. One significant problem with that is — as Deadspin pointed out — Te’o is beleived to have been “introduced” to Kekua in 2009, when he says he “met” her after a game between Notre Dame and Stanford. Mauia claims he met her in 2011, so the timeline would make no sense.
Then, there are also these tweets, which seem to connect Ronaiah Tuiasosopo to the Lennay Kekua fake identity.
To me, it sounds like Mauia is either brainwashed or just as confused as the rest of us. If he’s saying Te’o was not completely duped and that Kekua actually existed, he needs to explain himself in a much more detail than he did.
H/T The Big Lead
Photo credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports