Was the Manti Te'o girlfriend a hoax? That’s what’s being reported on Wednesday in a story that seems straight out of the MTV series “Catfish.”
In a new article by Deadspin, Te'o’s girlfriend is hard to identify, if she exists at all. Suggesting that Te'o was either involved in a lie to inflate his public image, or a victim of a cruel joke, the girlfriend hoax is now spreading online via Twitter and Facebook like wildfire.
Later on Wednesday, Notre Dame released a statement suggesting that Te'o and his family were duped into believing a bizarre ruse involving the linebacker’s online girlfriend.
Soon afterward, Manti seemed to back up the statement by the school, saying the following:
"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," Te'o said. "To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating."
Calling it a “sick joke,” there’s no doubt that the hoax will now spark an outright investigation. Whether or not any punishment can come down, especially now that it looks like Te'o will be heading to the NFL Draft come April, is certainly up in the air.