(UPDATE) Manti Te’o: College football star’s inspirational story a hoax

Mani Te'o

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was arguably the biggest name in college football this past season as the Fighting Irish made a remarkable run to the National Championship game.

The 22-year-old Mormon was a Heisman trophy candidate and his inspirational story gained steam throughout the fall. As dozens of media outlets told it, including Sports Illustrated, Te’o learned of the death of his grandmother and girlfriend in a span of six hours this past September.

Te’o’s grandmother did, in fact, pass away. However it turns out his girlfriend never existed at all, according to a scathing report by Deadspin.com Wednesday.

One source in the story said that he was “80 percent sure” Te’o was “in on it” and that he had helped stir the pot regarding the death of a fictional person. 

Click here for the full report

Te’o released the following statement Wednesday night:

“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.”

Notre Dame also issued a statement on their Facebook page Wednesday regarding the situation:

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.

Dennis Brown
University Spokesman | Assistant Vice President


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

TIPS: How to take great photos during 'Manhattanhenge'

Grab your camera and make the perfect picture this Saturday.

National

Seinfeld emoji cound be available next week

Get your puffy shirts and your marble rye ready, America. Seinfeld emoji could become available as early as next week.

Local

MAP: New York City street closures July 11,…

A block party in Times Square, Bastille Day celebrations and a festival will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend.

Local

Thousands come to pay respects to fallen NYC…

Thousands turned out to say farewell to fallen firefighter Gordon Ambelas at St. Clare’s Church in Staten Island this morning.

Movies

Interview: Matt Reeves on directing 'Dawn of the…

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" director Matt Reeves discusses his love for the franchise, working with actors as apes and the weight of 3-D cameras.

Television

Final season of 'Glee' will be only 13…

The final season of "Glee" will officially be only 13 episodes, instead of the usual 22.

Entertainment

Complex characters, juicy scripts boost Netflix's Emmy nominations

The unconventional approach to TV at Netflix netted 31 Emmy nominations, a major achievement after plunging into original programing just last year.

Entertainment

Actor Josh Duhamel dons bunny suit to encourage…

The former Transformers star and husband to singer Fergie took to the Venice Beach boardwalk in California in a bright pink, Christmas-story inspired bunny suit Wednesday to help spread the…

NFL

Which Jets player has the best odds at…

Metro New York asked Bovada.LV to rank the top three contenders for the NFL MVP on the Jets.

World Cup

Argentina prevails in penalties, advances to final

The drama never seems to subside as the World Cup finally has its final two.

MLB

A Joffrey Ballet dancer threw the most beautiful…

http://youtu.be/Hg61JOZJrYM?t=29s While asked to throw a first pitch at a baseball game can be a treacherous and/or embarrassing experience (see Cent, 50), sometimes everything can…

World Cup

World Cup semifinals preview: Holland vs. Argentina

The second semifinal pits another South American soccer power against a European one.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Sexual headaches can be…

Sexual headaches: an under-discussed health issue Location: U.S. Results: If getting frisky brings on a headache, you’re not alone. Headaches associated with sexual activity represent a…

Food

Head to FiDi for free Chia Pods from…

They may have been last summer's darlings, but chia seeds have definitely not gone out of style. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, they…

Wellbeing

Stop thinking your diabetes risk begins above a…

When it comes to diabetes research, a new study says black and Asian adults may be at risk for developing diabetes at a lower weight…

Food

Christian Siriano inspires Magnum's color-blocked dessert

Christian Siriano, chef Andrew Carmellini and Magnum team up to create "America's Most Fashionable Chocolate Dessert."