Manti Te'o's Fake Dead Girlfriend Takes To Twitter Again. Maybe. Got That?

The Notre Dame football star says he was duped by a group of hoaxers. What's going on here?

A heart-wrenching thread through this past college football season was that of Manti Te'o, a well-liked Heisman candidate from Notre Dame whose girlfriend Lennay Kekua, a reported Stanford student, died of cancer the same week that Te'o's grandmother passed away.

But on Wednesday, one of Nick Denton's websites, Deadspin, reported that Kekua wasn't a real person. At the very least, Te'o, who, some have argued, used Kekua's story to boost his popularity in college football, was "Catfished" by a group of soul-less Internet pranksters. Or, at the very worst, was in on the hoax the entire time.

Te'o, in a statement, said it was the former. But on Wednesday night a Twitter account with the same name that had reportedly began the lore of Lennay Kekua in the first place tweeted the following (though there was no way to verify the account's owners):

The account follows two NFL players: Troy Polamalu and Reagan Maui'a. Maui'a told reporters on Wednesday that Kekua was "real" and he had met her.

That statement made many, like Chicago Tribune reporter Brian Hamilton, start poking holes in Te'o's statement.

Pete Thamel, one of the many well-known sports reporters who was duped by the Kekua story, added this:

A former Stanford player claimed that Te'o had asked spoken to them about "his mystery girl".

Nev Schulman, the host of the MTV show "Catfish," who perhaps is the most famous face of a fake Internet girlfriend, assured his followers he was looking into it.

So what do you think? What did Te'o know and when? And who is Lennay Kekua? Also, crisis communication experts--any ideas on how Te'o can get out of this one before the NFL draft?



UPDATE: It appears the Twitter feed was just another hoax as well. On Thursday afternoon it issued this "statement":

[Photo by Flickr user Neon Tommy]

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2 Comments

  • Kat Formidoni

    Facts are still coming in but he really needs a good publicist as its not going well. Now his performance in title game makes more sense but doubtful this will impact NFL teams looking to draft him. Off the field antics without criminal charges mean nothing but PR