This is pretty disturbing.
Manti Te'o is a brilliant football player who has had a very rough time. His grandmother's death was followed up a few days later by his girlfriend's passing, and he used all that sadness and anger to bring about one of the best football performances we've ever seen.
WHAT THE WHAT?!
What Manti was told, was that she had been involved in a serious car accident in California, and then she tragically died after being diagnosed with leukemia. Just awful.
Now, after Manti and countless news organizations told his heartfelt story, we're finding out the truth — that the girl he met and loved on the internet and over the phone wasn't real — and it must've killed Manti to admit this:
“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.
“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.”
Though, some believe that Manti might have even been in on it, with publicity in mind. We don't think so, as we can totally understand where he's coming from. The internet is a cruel mistress sometime, especially in the hands of awful people wielding anonymity.
There is no SSA record of the death of Lennay Marie Kekua, at all. Her death produced no obituary or funeral announcement in Nexis, and no mention in the Stanford student newspaper. There are also no reports of a severe auto accident involving a Lennay Kekua, any record that she was ever enrolled at Stanford, or record of her birth. The only online evidence of her existence is a few Twitter and Instagram accounts.
The photographs identified as Kekua, like in online tributes and on TV news reports, are pictures from the social-media accounts of a 22-year-old California woman who has never met the Notre Dame star.
We hope the find out who did this, and it's being reported that it was Ronaiah Tuiasosopo – the former high school classmate of the woman in the fake photos – and some friends behind it. Those fantastic human beings are “80 percent sure” that Manti participated and did so with publicity in mind.
Why do people have to act like this?
It's not funny, and it destroys another person. We feel for you, Manti.
[Image via AP Images.]