Explosive news has come out about Notre Dame’s gifted defensive player Manti Te’o. Te’o was the linebacker that America fell in love with. He went through tragedy at the beginning of the season and led his team defensively to an undefeated season and to a BCS Championship game. On September 11, 2012, Te’o was set out to play Michigan State with his teammates when he got some of the worst news of his life.
Te’o’s grandmother had passed away and later on he found out his girlfriend, Lennay Marie Kekua, was killed in a serious car accident. She had already been diagnosed with leukemia in June 2012. Everyone’s heart went out to him and was captivated with his poise on the field when his team upset Michigan State 20-3. He was a true vision of strength and will. Well, it turns out things are not always as they appear….
Te’o’s grandmother did pass away which is absolutely tragic, BUT Lennay Marie Kekua was never his ‘girlfriend’ and she never died that day. Deadspin has uncovered one of the craziest stories in sports. The pictures of Kekua that have been used by the media came from a California girl whose name has not be made public. Kekua and Te’o did not meet in 2009, in fact his Twitter account states that they met much later in 2011. Kekua was allegedly created by one of Te’o’s friends, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo has done tricked other people with the Kekua account, but it was only brought to light because of Te’o’s rise to fame.
So… Lennay Kekua did not meet Te’o, did not have leukemia, did not get in a car accident, and she was never laid to rest. Whoa and we all thought MTV’s show Catfish was crazy? So did this girl/guy “Catfish” Te’o or did he set up this elaborate plan to garner sympathy from America. If Te’o did come up with this story he is one wild imagination, too much time on his hands, and he is to blame for the blowout his team suffered against Alabama in the BCS Championship game. We definitely need an Oprah interview for this mess of a situation. I can’t wait to see how the Te’o family handles this situation…
Notre Dame has released this statement, “Notre Dame coaches informed Dec 26 by Manti Te’o & parents Manti had been victim of what appears to be a hoax. Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself w/Manti & then conspired w/others to lead him believe she had tragically died of leukemia. Proper authorities continue to investigate, this appears to be, at minimum, a sad & very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators.”
Te’o issued this statement shortly after claiming that he was just a victim of a hoax and had no hand in the prank:
“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.”
Thank you Deadspin for bringing this story to forefront.
As if Houston Texans breakout star, JJ Watt, needed something else on his already stellar NFL career, you can now add nice guy. The defensive star could easily have stayed focus on his big game today, but instead he tried to help out other. Watt invited some of the survivors of the Newtown tragedy to Reliant Stadium to run around the field and hang out with the star. He tweeted out a picture saying: “Our new friends from Newtown, CT.”
He said that the kids got a chance to be normal kids. They ran around, had fun, and practiced their field goal kicking. What a classy move by Watt. It is these type of stories that show that athletes can be role models and all the stories about them being arrested should take a back seat to stories like this. However, the real question is whether Watt showed the kids his signature “swat” move!
This story is memorable for the shock and sadness that it brought to the NFL and the world in general. When word first spread that a Kansas City Chiefs player had committed suicide at the team’s training facility, everybody was already shocked and devastated. When the news went further that the player, who turned out to be linebacker Jovan Belcher, had killed his girlfriend and mother of his 3 month old daughter before turning the gun on himself people were stunned and at a loss for words. What could have caused this young man to commit such a violent crime when things looked so bright from the outside? Many have speculated on what drove Belcher to take such serious action, but I do not think that is what we should focus on. Two lives were taken too early and a little girl will never know her parents. It is not right for this little girl to see negative things posted about her father and I will not judge him because I do not know the entire situation. This was definitely a moment that changed the NFL and the way everyone looked at professional athletes. RIP Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins.
Has it been a full moon all week? It seems so with all the crazy stories going on. The latest of which included baseball great Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore police found Ripken’s mother in her home after being abducted at gun point. Reportedly, the attacker ordered Mrs. Ripken into her car on Tuesday morning. She was found back in her home Wednesday. “As you now know, our mother was abducted at gunpoint from her home yesterday morning. This has been a very trying time for our family, but we are grateful and relieved that mom is back with us, safe and healthy,” said a statement obtained by the Sun from the Ripken family. “We want to thank everyone for their tremendous support, especially all of the law enforcement agencies that worked so hard and quickly.” How could this happen to anyone let alone the mother of baseball’s good guy? People can no longer feel safe anywhere even in their homes. I am glad that she was not injured and hope that the Ripken family can move on from this awful event.