Manti Te’o needs to point us in the right direction.
A little more than two weeks into the new year and the top story so far is one for the books. Heisman Trophy runner-up Manti Te’o had a season as legendary as the University he represented. Behind his on the field fury was a story of dedication, love and immeasurable loss — which tugged at our heartstrings.
If only she really existed.
In the end, the only hearts broken were those who put their unwavering faith in Te’o.
Forty years ago, running back John Cappelletti of Penn State won the Heisman Trophy. In the backdrop of Cappelletti’s run into the history was his younger brother. Joey Cappelletti was stricken with childhood Leukemia and was seriously ill. When Cappelletti dedicated the Trophy to his dying brother, there were few dry eyes in the building. It was one of the great genuine moments in sports.
Ironically, Manti Te’o's Heisman Trophy campaign was fueled by the passing of his grandmother and fictional girlfriend Lennay Kekua, who Te’o said died from Leukemia.
Genuine is a word associated with Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o for different reasons now. The All-American’s alleged staging of a fake girlfriend and her death to fuel publicity has blindsided everyone. The University of Notre Dame has placed their cards on the table in support of Te’o. His larger than life aura has brought the school and football program back into relevance. The University financed their own investigation and are satisfied with the outcome, concluding this hoax was nothing more than a sick joke.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick choked back tears as he proclaimed, “The single most trusting person I have ever met will never be able to trust again in his life.”
When you line up the facts and add a little common sense and shake well, the answers are right there.
- Teo stated in one story he was told of his girlfriend’s death by his own brother and in another by the brother of his girlfriend.
- Notre Dame teammates were on board with the fact that Te’o's girlfriend did not exist, but it made for good theatre and Te’o was more than willing to ride the wave.
- Te’o never mentions any in-person interaction with this person in any of his interviews.
- He never mentioned going home at any point to visit during her illness.
- In the age of technology we live in he never mentions SKYPE, Facetime or any social media tools, only telephone conversations.
- There are conflicting stories on the actual death dates of his grandmother and girlfriend.
- Teo was notified of the hoax on December 6th. In an interview two days later, he spoke of Kekua as if she existed and was actually deceased.
The inconsistencies cannot be overlooked.
We were duped by Te’o because we didn’t question why there were no photos of Lennay Kekua. There was no obituary and no contact made with her family. Manti Te’o took the respect shown to him and solidified his fortress of lies upon it. No one would question the death of a loved one and Te’o knew it.
Why the added drama? Why such a perplexing act of deception to the public? Te’o doesn’t come across as an insecure person, he didn’t need he lies.
Or did he?
I guess we were all catfished, because we obviously never knew Manti Te’o.