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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Did a Popular Football Player Lie About His Dead Girlfriend?

Posted by on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

I clearly don't give a shit about football, but even I know a fascinating story when I see one. This Deadspin report is currently churning up the Twitters something awful:

Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, the stories said, played this season under a terrible burden. A Mormon linebacker who led his Catholic school's football program back to glory, Te'o was whipsawed between personal tragedies along the way. In the span of six hours in September, as Sports Illustrated told it, Te'o learned first of the death of his grandmother, Annette Santiago, and then of the death of his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua...Manti Te'o did lose his grandmother this past fall. Annette Santiago died on Sept. 11, 2012, at the age of 72, according to Social Security Administration records in Nexis. But there is no SSA record there of the death of Lennay Marie Kekua, that day or any other. Her passing, recounted so many times in the national media, produces no obituary or funeral announcement in Nexis, and no mention in the Stanford student newspaper.

Nor is there any report of a severe auto accident involving a Lennay Kekua. Background checks turn up nothing. The Stanford registrar's office has no record that a Lennay Kekua ever enrolled. There is no record of her birth in the news. Outside of a few Twitter and Instagram accounts, there's no online evidence that Lennay Kekua ever existed.

There's much more. Go read the whole thing. As Slog tipper Shane notes, this story bears quite a few resemblances to Cienna's excellent story about Munchausen syndrome by internet.


Comments (23) RSS

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I wish he would just own it and explain he was selling snake oil like every other filthy tabloid. What a lame excuse and to think he was comparing stories to Jim romes real one? Remember That this story hit Rome at a personal level. It was like mocking Jim Rome real story. That's the part I have trouble with.
Posted by Eriklastnamedontcare on January 18, 2013 at 4:56 AM · Report this
I don't get why people are making this into a big deal. Okay I get that he lied, but people lie everyday and his reason for lying is just as pathetic. Does it really matter? It's not like the guy hurt anyone. There are other things that we need to worry about and this is not one of them.
Posted by XxMelissaxX on January 17, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
--MC 21
I believe he did it to forestall any future unpleasantness from Brent Musburger.
Posted by --MC on January 17, 2013 at 7:15 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 20
He does appear to be lying.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 17, 2013 at 6:56 AM · Report this
Big ND fan here, and after reading that, I'm just glad he didn't win the Heisman. Well, after that, and the Alabama game.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 16, 2013 at 9:30 PM · Report this
wishicould 18
What do Lennay Kekua and Eddy Lacy have in common?

Manti Teo never hit either of 'em.
Posted by wishicould on January 16, 2013 at 9:11 PM · Report this
sirkowski 17
A former friend in college did something similar. He'd start crying and show you a photograph of his dead girlfriend. Then someone recognized the girl. She wasn't dead and they never even went out together. So he probably stole the photograph.
Posted by sirkowski on January 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM · Report this
Of course he had a fake girlfriend. He's at a Catholic school. Every guy there has a fake girlfriend. Hell, the ambidextrous guys have two.
Posted by Chicago Fan on January 16, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
Dougsf 15
That's what I get for not reading until the end... strike my last sentence.
Posted by Dougsf on January 16, 2013 at 4:39 PM · Report this
Dougsf 14
All of the secondhand accounts including Kekua read like Danielle Steel wrote them. "Babe, if anything happens to me, you football... honor..." UGH, I think it's clear whoever wrote that probably hasn't ever been in a long-term relationship.

Shouldn't be long before the young woman that got her picture repurposed comes forward.
Posted by Dougsf on January 16, 2013 at 4:38 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 13
@9 & 10. Yeah, the more I'm learning about this story, the weirder it gets. It also appears the Twitter account of the supposed girlfriend belongs to a family friend, who coincidentally is a member of the Tuiasososopo extended family, who are famous in these parts. It's just getting stranger and harder to believe by the minute.
Posted by Gern Blanston on January 16, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
Notre Dame, we once hired a coach with a fake resume and the star of current team had a fake girlfriend...
Posted by searunner on January 16, 2013 at 4:18 PM · Report this
@5: Mormons may not do premarital long as you don't count oral as sex. There's a reason Brigham Young Univ was widely known as Blowjob U. Maybe the Mormons have gotten hip to oral in the last 20 yrs and issued a ban on it, but it used to be on the menu.
Posted by gnossos on January 16, 2013 at 4:02 PM · Report this
@7, except for this article from October, where his father claims they met in Hawaii "every once in a while'

"They started out as just friends," Brian Te'o said. "Every once in a while, she would travel to Hawaii, and that happened to be the time Manti was home, so he would meet with her there. But within the last year, they became a couple.

South Bend Tribune, Ocr 12, 2012
Posted by Mr John on January 16, 2013 at 3:58 PM · Report this
emma's bee 9
@7: it seems plausible that he would then describe her as the love of his life? I call massive bullshit.
Posted by emma's bee on January 16, 2013 at 3:44 PM · Report this
Flamingo Rock 8
Comment of the day on this story:

"Nosuch Dame"
Posted by Flamingo Rock on January 16, 2013 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 7
Teo released a statement and claims that he was duped by someone he met online. Apparently he talked to this person online and on the phone, but never actually met her in person. That seems plausible.…

Posted by Gern Blanston on January 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
Hey, he could be bi-curious. Don't put labels on him. Footballs don't care what gender preference the player has.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM · Report this
@ 3 Not really Mormons don't really do premarital sex, and you think ones with girlfriends never cheat?
Posted by Seattle14 on January 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM · Report this
My first thought is that he's gay. The girl, as best as I can tell, was brought into the public eye by his mormon parents after her death. The girl seems to have "died" around the time the parents were getting antsy to meet their future daughter-in-law. After his parents start talking to the press about all the tragedy he has gone through his decision was to 1) come out or 2) play along. He played along. He's a 22 year old mormon football player at Notre Dame, I don't think he's the only one who makes that decision.
Posted by @Reetz13 on January 16, 2013 at 3:26 PM · Report this
@2 Perhaps, but I bet being a football god at a football school puts you in a position to entertain a lot of ladies. "I've got a sick girlfriend in Cali" is a much more plausible excuse that "faith" for why you're not partaking.
Posted by Mr John on January 16, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this
care bear 2
@1 Being Mormon would probably be a good enough excuse.
Posted by care bear on January 16, 2013 at 2:53 PM · Report this
I wonder if Manti Te'o is gay and this was an easy cover story for why he wasn't bagging every girl in South Bend.
Posted by Mr John on January 16, 2013 at 2:50 PM · Report this

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