The Non-Sports Fan Guide To The Manti Te’O Story

Manti Te'O
Manti Te’O

Alright dude, my Twitter feed is blowing the hell up. What is going on?

You again! OK, Here’s the deal. Yesterday Deadspin reported that Manti Te’o, Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman trophy finalist…

I’m going to stop you right there. A what and a who?

Ugh. Right. Um, Notre Dame is a college where they play football. Linebacker is a position in football. The Heisman Trophy is the biggest award they give out every year in college football.

Football. Like, oblong brown ball? Jerks in high school played it?


This isn’t one of those things where you’re calling soccer “football” right?

Regular old, American football.

Go on.

Anyway, this year it was a big story on several news networks that Te’o had a long distance girlfriend, and that she died this year of leukemia ON THE SAME DAY that his grandmother died. Te’o dedicated the season to the both of them.

That’s sad.

Here’s the story, though. Yesterday Deadspin reported that Manti Te’o’s girlfriend, (Lennay Kekua is her name) the one who died? She didn’t exist.


Made up. Fake. She’s a phantom, an apparition, second cousin to Harvey the rabbit.

Is that a Shawshank Redemption quote?



So yeah. She’s fake. Never existed. Her Twitter account used pictures of another person. No death certificate. Te’o claimed she went to Stanford, but there’s no record of her ever going there. They met online, it turns out. But he never, in fact, met her in person.

So are we talking a Catfish scenario here?

Well see that’s the thing. Te’o claims that it’s exactly that. He was duped by a person on the internet. He lied about meeting her because he didn’t want people to know he had an internet girlfriend, but otherwise he was just the victim of a hoax.


HERE’S THE TWIST, though. Deadspin also found out that the person running the fake Lennay Kekua account KNOWS Te’o. They’re friends. And a mutual friend of the two of them went on record saying he’s “80% sure” that Te’o was in on the whole thing.

Eighty percent? That’s a pretty arbitrary number.

What? Yeah. I guess so.

Any good jokes come out of this whole story?

Man, am I glad you asked. The best one I’ve seen is someone Photoshopping the name “KEKUA” on the back of the mug the guy drops in Usual Suspects.

Nice. I’d personally go with the It’s Always Sunny “Pepe Silvia” bit.

Fantastic. See, isn’t this fun? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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