Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, is facing stiff criticism because some are calling his touching story about a tragedy which involved his girlfriend dying, a hoax. Manti's girlfriend, Kekua, 22, had allegedly been in a tragic car accident, and later died after being diagnosed with Leukemia. In an interview, Te'o says the death of his girlfriend inspired him to play better, which lead the Fighting Irish to an appearance in the National Championship Game. On Jan. 16 ESPN stated,
"The university issued a news release Wednesday after Deadspin reported it could find no record of Lennay Kekua existing.The university says that Notre Dame coaches were informed by Te'o and his parents on Dec. 26 that Te'o had been the victim of what appeared to be a hoax. Someone using a fictitious name "apparently ingratiated herself" with Te'o, the school said, then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had died of leukemia."
The heartbreaking story about Te'o's girlfriend dying was broadcast on major news outlets across the nation. However, Deadspin believes the entire story is simply a well-orchestrated hoax. According to Deadspin's Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey, his girlfriend's death couldn't be verified when they ran a search through the Nexis and Social Security Administration database.
They also claim that Lennay Kekua never even existed. In fact, the only evidence of the existence of a woman by that name is from fake pictures on Twitter and Instagram. They say,
"The photographs identified as Kekua—in online tributes and on TV news reports—are pictures from the social-media accounts of a 22-year-old California woman who is not named Lennay Kekua."
Manti Te'o has not responded to Deadspin's allegations as of yet.