American Football: Solved - the case of the girlfriend who never was
Sunday 20 January 2013
As mysteries go, the one involving the Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and his "dead" girlfriend takes some beating. Yesterday, like the next chapter in a detective novel, it unveiled another twist which will only serve to ratchet up the interest in this bizarre story.
It began as a tale of bravery in the face of grief, as media outlets broke the tear-jerking news that Te'o had shrugged off the heartbreak of losing his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, to leukaemia just hours after the death of his grandmother to play the game of his life and lead his college team Notre Dame to a crucial 20-3 win over Michigan State last autumn.
But the tears of sympathy and admiration had hardly dried when Deadspin.com reported that not only did his girlfriend not die but, in fact, she had never existed.
The death of the grandmother was true, but there were no records of the girlfriend's birth or death, or her supposed attendance at Stanford University. As the 21-year-old's story unravelled, an alternative theory grew, that Te'o had concocted a hoax to enhance his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy for the outstanding player in college football.
Te'o denied this, yet he did finally admit that he had never met the girlfriend, but that he believed he was in a relationship with a woman he had met online, regularly Skyping her though never seen her face because the picture was always blocked. "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," said Te'o.
So what was going on? Yesterday, in an off-camera interview with ESPN, Te'o said Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old acquaintance from California he had first met in November, had contacted him to confess to setting him up – and presumably providing someone to speak to Te'o on the phone in the guise of Lennay Kekua, the girlfriend. Te'o claimed Tuiasosopo had originally said Kekua was his cousin. Te'o also said he lied to his father about how he met the woman. To cover that up, he apparently lied to everyone else, admitting: "I even knew it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn't meet."
But is this the truth? Watch out for the next exciting episode.
Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Play-acting mystifies me. I was taught not to show pain
Phil Hughes dead: List of players who have tragically died on the cricket pitch
Nani transfer: No future for winger at Sporting Lisbon as club cannot afford his wages when loan deal with Manchester United runs out
This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
Tottenham Hotspur vs Partizan Belgrade match report: Spurs go through in Europa League - but pitch invaders grab the attention
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader ...
£45000 - £80000 per annum + car + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: A market leader in...
£25000 - £45000 per annum + car: h2 Recruit Ltd: A fantastic and unique Field ...
£45000 - £80000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: A global market leader i...