This story is equally twisted and fascinating.
For all who are not fans of American college football, Manti T'eo is a star linebacker for Notre Dame and runner up for this year's Heisman Trophy. He was one of this year's top two names in college football.
The sports media reported ad nauseam all season about his difficult childhood, his feelings of being an outcast as a devout Mormon at a Catholic school, his great love for his girlfriend Kekua that he met in person outside the locker room after the Stanford game (or was it a virtual introduction on Twitter days later?), the horrific car accident that nearly took his girlfriend's life (that there's no record of), the tragic death of his grandmother, and the even more gut-wrenching death of his beloved girlfriend from a sudden bout of leukemia later that same day which was also shortly after she somehow found time to graduate from Stanford.
Or was it before his grandmother died? Or was it the next day? Or a few days later? Whatever the case, he somehow heroically mustered the super-human strength to persevere and lead his team to victory, even with his world crumbling around him.
Some believe that his rise to national prominence had as much to do with the emotive impact of his heart wrenching personal story as it did his actual talent and on-field performance.
Emotional stories of triumphing over personal tragedy and adversity is like manna from heaven for the sports media (and media in general) and T'eo's story had ESPN and the like salivating at each juicy morsel his life seemed to dish up this year. Which kept his name in people's minds, including Heisman voters, as his story tugged at the heart strings and begged for people to emotional anchor themselves to T'eo and his tragic, almost Shakespearean, narrative.
Apparently, though, it was all a hoax. His girlfriend never existed. He made her up. This story will only get stranger from here.
http://deadspin.com/5976517/manti-te...ium=socialflowManti Te'o did lose his grandmother this past fall. Annette Santiago died on Sept. 11, 2012, at the age of 72, according to Social Security Administration records in Nexis. But there is no SSA record there of the death of Lennay Marie Kekua, that day or any other. Her passing, recounted so many times in the national media, produces no obituary or funeral announcement in Nexis, and no mention in the Stanford student newspaper.
Nor is there any report of a severe auto accident involving a Lennay Kekua. Background checks turn up nothing. The Stanford registrar's office has no record that a Lennay Kekua ever enrolled. There is no record of her birth in the news. Outside of a few Twitter and Instagram accounts, there's no online evidence that Lennay Kekua ever existed.
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. She is not a Stanford graduate; she has not been in a severe car accident; and she does not have leukemia. And she has never met Manti Te'o.