One of the biggest stories this week was that Notre Dame linebacker and Heisman trophy runner-up, Manti Te’o, was exposed in a piece by Deadspin as having made up the story of losing his girlfriend to leukemia last September. In response, Manti issued a statement claiming to have been the victim of an Internet hoax, and Notre Dame of course backed him up. He was expected to hold a press conference to answer questions about his involvement in the scandal, but instead the athletic director from Notre Dame held the press conference with Manti nowhere in sight. It seemed like a cover-up for a star player, and there are still so many unanswered questions about it. It’s also a very complicated story, so I’ll do some bullet points here, which I have to credit Buzzfeed and CNN for.
This story is hard to parse out, and there are of course more details I’m leaving out. Here’s the version that Notre Dame wants us to believe, but I’m not convinced. They want us to believe that Manti was a very naive victim of a cruel hoax. Maybe this kind of relationship appealed to him because he was devout in his Mormon faith and it was easier to love someone from afar. It’s possible he made up a cover story about how he met Lennay in order to hide the fact that they had an online-only relationship. It’s possible he used false details to bolster their relationship to the press and those close to them, like telling his family she would visit him. If this version is the case, though, at the very least he continued to lie and act as if this person were real even after he realized he was duped. This makes me wonder – who was the woman talking to him on the phone and why did she come clean about the hoax?
Other theories claim that Manti was in on this with his old buddy Ronaiah the whole time and that it was a cover up for the fact that he’s deep in the closet.
As Radar reports, apart from his written statement, Manti has remained silent since news of this scandal broke and has not spoken to the press. Radar has a related story about how this mess could cost Manti a career in the NFL.
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