Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blarney: Deadspin story says Mant Te'o Dead Girlfriend Story Was an Elaborate Hoax

Manti Te'o's Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A Hoax
Published on Deadspin | shared via feedly
There was no Lennay Kekua. Lennay Kekua did not meet Manti Te'o after the Stanford game in 2009. Lennay Kekua did not attend Stanford. Lennay Kekua never visited Manti Te'o in Hawaii. Lennay Kekua was not in a car accident. Lennay Kekua did not talk to Manti Te'o every night on the telephone. She was not diagnosed with cancer, did not spend time in the hospital, did not engage in a lengthy battle with leukemia. She never had a bone marrow transplant. She was not released from the hospital on Sept. 10, nor did Brian Te'o congratulate her for this over the telephone. She did not insist that Manti Te'o play in the Michigan State or Michigan games, and did not request he send white flowers to her funeral. Her favorite color was not white. Her brother, Koa, did not inform Manti Te'o that she was dead. Koa did not exist. Her funeral did not take place in Carson, Calif., and her casket was not closed at 9 a.m. exactly. She was not laid to rest. 
Lennay Kekua's last words to Manti Te'o were not "I love you."
Mash here for the exclusive.

If this story is accurate, then Notre Dame, the South Bend Tribune and the Irish's most celebrated football player of the 2012 season led the nation and the national sports media on an elaborate and shameful hoax.

Everyone--including ESPN,Sports Illustrated and the New York Times--bought the story and ran with it.

Update: Notre Dame has released a statement.

On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators.
Update II: Te'o has also issued a statement.

This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her. To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating. It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life. I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been. In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was. Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft.
Do you believe the statements from Notre Dame and Te'o?

Nope. Me, either.

1 comments :

Jason Gray said...

I think the bigger issue here is what you often reference on your blog, and that is the lack of diligent and credible journalism among even the most respected of mainstream media sources. I realize that most people would just take Te'o's word for it, but a journalist should be more discerning than most people.

The Deadspin.com journalist did some pretty in-depth research for his article, but he started out with what I would think was some simple research that probably didn't take a lot of time; He found no public record of a death with that name, no news of the alleged accident, and no record of a person with this name having ever enrolled as a Stanford student. I would think any journalist writing about Te'o's story might at least attempt to contact the family of this young woman. Would that alone not have thrown up some red flags?

The ease with which many mainstream media outlets (ESPN, CBS, Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, New York Post, etc.) were deceived by a story that was concocted from thin air certainly makes me question just how many other stories run by our mainstream media sources could be simply and completely untrue.