Manti Te’o’s Dead Girlfriend, The Most Heartbreaking And Inspirational Story Of The College Football Season, Is A Hoax
All of those photographs—with one important exception—came from the private Facebook and Instagram accounts of Reba [...] That photo hadn't appeared on the internet—at least, not to Reba's knowledge. She had taken it in December 2012 and sent it directly to an old high school acquaintance. [...]
And now here it was on a dead girl's Twitter profile. After googling Lennay Kekua's name, Reba began to piece things together. She called up the classmate. He expressed alarm, Reba told us later, and "immediately began acting weird." "Don't worry about it," he told her. Moments after the phone call, Reba's picture was removed from the @LoveMSMK Twitter profile. Then, in a series of lengthy phone calls, Reba told us everything she knew about the classmate, a star high school quarterback turned religious musician named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
Read the whole thing. It's mind-boggling.
Manti Te'o now says that he was taken in by a hoax:
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. [...] 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.
But ... the stories describing their "relationship" seemed to suggest that they met in person; it wasn't just an online romance. If so, was Te'o in on the hoax from the beginning? Or did Tuiasosopo gradually ensnare Te'o in the hoax to the point where when he found out, he felt he had no choice but to continue playing along?
Either way, what an awful experience for everyone involved.