It’s getting close to a week since the story broke that former Notre Dame standout linebacker and Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te’o's “girlfriend” Lennay Kekua, who supposedly died from leukemia just hours before Te’o's grandmother passed away back in September 2012, and whose love and parting words helped inspire Te’o to a monumental performance in a 20-3 rout of Michigan State as part of the Fighting Irish’s improbable undefeated season, was in fact a product of someone else’s imagination, a fabrication made possible by the internet and social media.
In case you know nothing about this story and you’re re-reading what you just read, stop now. You read it right the first time. She never existed.
Te’o says he was pranked in the worst possible way, and Notre Dame has backed him up and embraced his story without reservation. In fact, the potential Top 10 NFL draft choice will speak to Katie Couric in a nationally-televised interview by week’s end to further tell his side of the story.
But is he telling the truth? Can we really believe that Te’o really just a hapless, naive dupe who was fooled by online photos, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and a voice on the phone that Lennay was real and that he and this woman were, in fact, a couple? Did Te’o simply embellish the story about having a girlfriend to friends and family and have that embellishment snowball into an enormous, uncontrollable lie? Or did Te’o have a hand in manufacturing the whole story and blowing it up to epic proportions to some shady end, like increasing his Heisman chances or maybe hiding his true sexuality?
We may never know the truth. But what we do know is that the story is one of the most bizarre in sports history, and it’s certainly worthy of a parody song or two. Here’s Rick’s latest, inspired by the ongoing Manti Te’o fake girlfriend saga – check it out, then log on to that online dating site you use and Google the person you’ve been exchanging messages with for the past week or so, just in case …