Notre Dame, linebacker, Manti Te'o, created a very sympathetic figure in his quest for Heisman Trophy glory. Te'o finished as the Heisman Trophy runner-up, in the prestigious contest. The NFL legacy shows Heisman winners and top picks have better positioning in the NFL Draft.
Te'o received as much media coverage of his personal life and personal tragedies, as he did for his sportsman's efforts. As reported by numerous media outlets, were numerous stories about Te'o, losing both his grandmother and girlfriend to the cancer ailment.
Reports have surfaced that Te'o's alleged girlfriend "Lennay Kekua" is a fictitious character, made-up by Te'o himself, to make him a sympathetic figure, and possibly garner favor in the Heisman voting. Further adding to the fodder about Te'o, contradictory claims have risen. Te'o now maintains he is subject to a "hoax" and was duped by an unknown party, into believing that the person he interacted with online, was a real woman, named Lennay Kekua.
Jan. 16, LA Times reports, "The scam does more than just shatter a college football fairy tale. It also leaves a black mark on sports journalism, as many news outlets — including The Times — ran stories about Kekua's passing without verifying her death. There was no published obituary for Kekua and no California driver's license issued to anyone with that name (she supposedly graduated from Stanford). The Social Security Administration database had no record of anyone with the surname Kekua dying in 2012."
For months the media and the world applauded Te'o for his strength, conviction and triumph over adversity. Te'o, an Oahu, Hawaii, native, brought great pride to his home state in his athletics, and humanitarian efforts. Te'o's positive image that he put forth made him very likable. Scam or no scam, the die is cast, with public suspicions, social media mockery and top media outlets scratching their heads on how basic fact checking failed to reveal the truth.