Manti Te’o, the superstar linebacker for one of college football’s most storied programs, Notre Dame, has incurred the wrath of sports fans nationwide after they found out that his so-called girlfriend, who had supposedly died of leukemia just hours after his grandmother died, never even existed, according to DeadSpin.com.
Te’o, a finalist for NCAA’s highest individual honor, the Heisman Trophy, captivated a national audience with the most heart-jerking story of the year when he went on TV and said that just hours after his grandmother had died, his girlfriend (Lennay Kekua) had also died of cancer. Turns out that the girlfriend he met online — but had never met in person — but talked to everyday for four months, was a hoax perpetrated by at least one person. Despite never seeing this woman, Te’o called her a girlfriend and said he had developed a very deep, loving relationship with the girl before she died.
When ESPN asked Te’o what was the last conversation that he and his “girlfriend” had before she died, he told the interviewer that his girlfriend chose to talk about his just-deceased grandmother. So, the question is, if this person never existed, just who was Te’o talking to all these months?
The issue of the grandmother of Te’o passing away is a fact can be confirmed by a death certificate and media outlets. But Te’o is the subject of side-eyes and second guessing because his story of losing his grandmother and girlfriend on the same day turns not to be true because the young woman was a figment of someone’s sick imagination.
Worse, some media pundits on ESPN questioned Te’o’s judgement and even his character. Some have openly wondered if Te’o was in on the hoax. Te’o denied this in a statement and said this experience has been “embarrassing and humiliating.”
Deadspin.com uncovered the cruel hoax on Te’o. But Twitter users were merciless, even cruel, with their jokes and attacks on Te’o, including one from comedian Seth Meyers, the man who torched Donald Trump at President Obama’s Correspondents Dinner last year:
These Te’o jokes are all very funny but let’s all try and remember that a person who never existed is dead.
— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers21) January 16, 2013
Take a look at what other celebrities — especially athletes and sports reporters — had to say about Te’o, most of which is not pretty at all.