The name Manti Te’o has had NFL football fans enamored with the exceptionally gifted and clean cut athlete from Notre Dame. His image so rare and perfect that just his name alone could lift the image of a franchise. In Detroit, there was talk that Te’o could become the new face of the Lions defense. The Yin to Ndamukong Su’s Yang. While many mock drafts have started to move Te’o down their boards after his not-so-brilliant BSC outing against Alabama, the news today could slam the door on his first round projections all together.
If the latest rumor is true, Manti Te’o’s squeaky clean image is far from the truth.
The rumor is this. His dead girlfriend, the one who died of Leukemia just before Notre Dame beat Michigan, didn’t really die after all. No, her death wasn’t a hoax. Her entire being was a hoax. According a report on Deadspin, the name Lennay Kekua has no association with Manti Te’0, Stanford University, a bad car accident, or a death by Leukemia. In fact, according to the Deadspin report (You can read it here) the only association with her and a real person are a Twitter account and another social networking account. To make matters worse, the image used to associate the girl are actually a Facebook picture of someone else. Not named Lennay Kekua.
If this is indeed a hoax it has fooled the media on all levels. The very nature of the hoax is a resounding indictment on the character of Te’o. In no way could he not been involved in the charade if not simply because he never denied her existence. I stress, IF this were a hoax because as of now, the only real information is being provided by a site that is claiming the woman doesn’t exist. And not exactly a nationwide destination site for breaking real news.
At this point, all indications are pointing to this story out of Deadspin to be completely true. The coverage and extensive research into the story seem to be very accurate. One can only speculate that Te’o will take a major plunge in the NFL Draft come April. He will undoubtedly be questioned by every GM in the NFL at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. If he even bothers to attend.
The crisp clean image that was/is Manti Te’o may very well have been nothing more than a shroud of incredible deceit.