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Manti Te'o, a Complicated Hoax, and a Still-Unfolding Story

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Deadspin makes the case that Lennay Kekua never existed. Notre Dame claims Manti Te'o was the victim of a cruel hoax.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a link to the Deadspin article that lays out the hoax they claim to have unravelled. The authors argue that Manti Te'o was likely complicit in the hoax. The official statement from Notre Dame acknowledges the hoax but claims that Te'o was not complicit in it.

As more information becomes available, we'll update this post.

Notre Dame Statement: Manti Te’o


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.

Dennis Brown
University Spokesman | Assistant Vice President

Manti Te'o released a statement which reads:

"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."

This is truly one of the most bizarre stories in sports history. With that realization, we would like to remind everyone to remain as level-headed as possible and discuss this issue with respect for all of the parties involved in the story.