Notre Dame football star Mante Te'o is in hot water today. He claimed that a woman named Lennay Kekua was his girlfriend and that she died of Leukemia. He said he met Kekua in person at a charity work event in American Samoa in June 2011. In other accounts, people insisted that the couple met in 2009. The news is that the girl is a fake, the death was a fake, the girl might actually be real and Twitter went wild with posts about the scandal. Either Te’o is a gullible victim who engaged in a relationship that was strictly online or he has helped to perpetrate a lie about having a girlfriend who died. According to a Jan. 17 Yahoo Sports article,
"Te'o must also explain why he said he met Lennay Kekua, when that apparently never happened. He must explain why his father, Brian, also said the two met. He must explain why, if he felt for this dying girl the way he reportedly did, he never left the Notre Dame campus to be with her near the end – not at the hospital, not at the grave. He must explain why he went along with the storyline instead of publicly correcting the record, even after telling his coaches and Swarbrick about the hoax on Dec. 26."
The convoluted tale includes the claim that Mauia said he met Kekua in June 2011 while other sources claim they met at Stanford in 2009 and carried on a relationship since then.
In a bizarre twist, Notre Dame Athletics director Jack Swarbrick held a press conference on Jan. 16. He claimed Te’o was the victim of an elaborate hoax by a "host of perpetrators" who wanted to make Te’o fall in love and subsequently lose Kekua in grandiose fashion. Notre Dame hired a private investigator to find out what was going on. The results and evidence indicate that the online relationship was part of an elaborate hoax where the girl was invented and where Te'o never met her in person as he claimed to have done.
Twitter turned into a public forum filled with jokes, jeers and sneers at the bizarre and astoundingly complicated hoax. On Jan. 17, the Daily News captured some of the more memorable tweets.
This story will play out over time since the truth is so elusive and the Notre Dame must withhold the evidence until the involved parties resolve their privacy issues. How this will affect Mante Te'o's draft status is unknown at this time.