If you haven’t read the Manti Te’o story on Deadspin.com yet, I suggest you do so. It’s not only the most intriguing sports story of the past five years, it’s one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever read. I strongly suggest you read the full article, but if you’re one of those lazy “tl;dr” people, here’s the short version: Manti Te’o’s grandma and girlfriend died on the same day earlier this fall. The story galvanized sports fans, led people to donate thousands to leukemia research, and propelled Te’o and Notre Dame to the National Championship Game. Only it turns out that girlfriend never existed. That picture above, which sports fans were told was Lennay Kekua, is actually some random girl, who learned of the hoax when she saw her picture on the news a couple months ago. It’s still unclear whether Te’o was duped by someone in a cruel hoax, or if he purposely fabricated the story in order to gain publicity. Basically he’s Kaiser Soze, Tyler Durden, Ray Finkle and the balloon boy all wrapped up in one. Here’s an excerpt:
Was this Lennay Kekua? We spoke with friends and relatives of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo who asserted that Ronaiah was the man behind Lennay. He created Lennay in 2008, one source said, and Te'o wasn't the first person to have an online "relationship" with her. One mark—who had been "introduced" to Lennay by Tuiasosopo—lasted about a month before family members grew suspicious that Lennay could never be found on the telephone, and that wherever one expected Lennay to be, Ronaiah was there instead. Two sources discounted Ronaiah's stunt as a prank that only metastasized because of Te'o's rise to national celebrity this past season.
A friend of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo told us he was "80 percent sure" that Manti Te'o was "in on it," and that the two perpetrated Lennay Kekua's death with publicity in mind. According to the friend, there were numerous photos of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and Te'o together on Tuiasosopo's now-deleted Instagram account.
From the sound of it, Manti Te’o lied, manipulated and bullied in order to gain accolades for himself. This guy shouldn't be allowed to step on the field ever again. He belongs in the corporate world instead. Quick, somebody get Wall Street on the horn, we've found your next CEO!