Lennay Kekua, we hardly knew ‘ye.

Either this is one of the greatest social experiments concocted by a football star to see how far he could push a media hoax, or it’s just one of the creepiest things I’ve ever read.  In any event, there sure seems to be a whole lot of lying going on.

There was no Lennay Kekua. Lennay Kekua did not meet Manti Te’o after the Stanford game in 2009. Lennay Kekua did not attend Stanford. Lennay Kekua never visited Manti Te’o in Hawaii. Lennay Kekua was not in a car accident. Lennay Kekua did not talk to Manti Te’o every night on the telephone. She was not diagnosed with cancer, did not spend time in the hospital, did not engage in a lengthy battle with leukemia. She never had a bone marrow transplant. She was not released from the hospital on Sept. 10, nor did Brian Te’o congratulate her for this over the telephone. She did not insist that Manti Te’o play in the Michigan State or Michigan games, and did not request he send white flowers to her funeral. Her favorite color was not white. Her brother, Koa, did not inform Manti Te’o that she was dead. Koa did not exist. Her funeral did not take place in Carson, Calif., and her casket was not closed at 9 a.m. exactly. She was not laid to rest.

Lennay Kekua’s last words to Manti Te’o were not “I love you.”

Of course, what I’m waiting for now is the inevitable “How much will the Kekua story affect Te’o’s draft status?” piece.

It’s a strange world we live in, peeps.


UPDATE:  “If Te’o’s dying girlfriend story had been invented 80 years ago, it would have been memorialized in film and people would still believe it today.”


Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

99 responses to “Lennay Kekua, we hardly knew ‘ye.

  1. Russ

    Wow. Very strange indeed.

    • Even the Irish players’ personal lives are over-rated.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        This T’eo phony girlfriend thing is a metaphor for ND football this season. Absolutely fake. To borrow an old Lou Holtz line: “They’re living a lie.”

      • What fresh hell is this?

        Every so often life hands you a perfect gem. This is one of those gems. It just doesn’t get much better than this.

        I’ve been laughing for about 6 hrs now. Went to the local watering hole to watch the ND press conference and laugh some more. I absolutely cannot believe ND is standing behind this pile of lies.

        Life could only be better if you’re an AM radio sports talk show personality. Between Te’o, Lance Armstrong, and Chip Kelly you’ve got programming material for the next 200+ hrs.

    • Dawg19

      A fake girlfriend story? Mr. Te’o would have fit in quite well at Georgia Tech…

  2. TennesseeDawg

    Her real name is Lennay Wochinski

    Costanza: Oh ho! Class, huh? At Columbia? Let me tell you something, pal. I called the registrar’s office. I checked you out. They have no record of a Ray Thomas at that school! You liar!
    Ray: Well, that’s because I’m registered under my full legal name, Raymond Thomas Wochinski. Ray Thomas is my professional name.

  3. RomanDawg

    That’s an impressive ruse….only slightly less impressive than his imitation of a real linebacker.

  4. TennesseeDawg

    Brett McMurphy ‏@McMurphyESPN

    Notre Dame statement: “Notre Dame coaches informed Dec 26 by Manti Te’o & parents Manti had been victim of what appears to be a hoax”

    Sure, he was…

  5. Darrron Rovelll

    Perhaps the weirdest story that I have heard in a long long time. Like all great hoaxes, the facts and timelines are so off that just a little extra time doing some background reporting would have exposed it long ago.

    Suspension of disbelief by the media and in turn the fans/listeners/viewers played a huge part in the growth of this meme because everyone wanted this kid to be that kind of hero.

    Heck even if there was a modicum of truth to the story – long distance girlfriend w/cancer or in a car wreck, etc. – you could event “Assume the Position” to print the legend rather than the fact.

    But in this case, why even develop the hoax in the first place? From the story it looks like Te’o was aware that the girl did not exist and Te’o might have known who the actually person was.

    I am sure we will hear a lot more about it.

    Sure will make for some interesting NFL combine questions from team executives. Since some of them are obnoxious enough to ask Dez Bryant about his “prostitute” mother, I would love to be a fly on the wall when they ask Te’o about his dead girlfriend who turned out to be a living dude.

  6. Tronan

    I commented a while back that UGA needed to up its PR game on behalf of Aaron Murray in this coming season’s Heisman fooferaw. Just to make myself perfectly clear, this wasn’t what I had in mind.

    • Ty Webb

      I am 98% sure of what the result would be (which is less than the 99.9% confidence I would have had at lunchtime today), but doesn’t some reporter now have to go demand medical records establishing the existence of his dad’s cancer and exactly when it was discovered? Nothing to do with Aaron’s integrity specifically. What a rabbit hole.

  7. sUGArdaddy

    Very disturbing. That’s really all you can say. Disturbing.

  8. Castleberry

    I think the way he fell at the feet of Eddie Lacy will have a bigger impact.

  9. BMan

    Has anyone checked to see if the Gipper had a Twitter account? I think those pictures posted on his Facebook page look a lot like a young Ronald Reagan. Was @KnuteRockneFwdpass in on it?

  10. Watchman

    Fake hyped as good football player had fake girlfriend with fake hyped as sad story. Why not?

  11. Tronan

    Seth Emerson’s latest Tweet: “In retrospect, it’s a good thing that Georgia OL Chris Burnette’s engagement, which I wrote about last fall, was verified on YouTube.”

  12. Ed Kilgore

    Check out Jonathan Chait’s argument that this fits right into Notre Dame’s history of mythmaking: http://goo.gl/Fa1cL

    Chait, as it happens, is a big-time Michigan fan. Still, he makes a good point, or at least one congenial to the legions of Irish-haters.

  13. Debby Balcer

    True reporting includes verifying facts. A lot of journalists have egg on their faces.

  14. j4k372

    Apparently Manti says he is the victim.

  15. Biggus Rickus

    And people wonder why I’m cynical.

  16. xdawg1000

    This reminds me of the HS kid that faked his own recruitment to the point of his school holding a signing day presser for him. I think he claimed that he was signing a LOI to the Cal Golden Bears.

  17. Mike, Not Gator Mike

    It’s not a lie, if you believe it…

    “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.
    “I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.
    “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.”

    • TennesseeDawg

      Unless you believe this (from the South Bend newspaper)

      And Manti Te’o is convinced the beautiful stranger will be watching too Saturday, somehow.

      Lennay Kekua was a Stanford student and Cardinal football fan when the two exchanged glances, handshakes and phone numbers that fateful weekend three seasons ago.

      She was gifted in music, multi-lingual, had dreams grounded in reality and the talent to catch up to them.

      The plan was for Kekua to spend extensive time with the whole Te’o family when upwards of 40 of them came to South Bend in mid-November for ND’s Senior Day date with Wake Forest.

      “They started out as just friends,” Brian Te’o said. “Every once in a while, she would travel to Hawaii, and that happened to be the time Manti was home, so he would meet with her there. But within the last year, they became a couple.

      “And we came to the realization that she could be our daughter-in-law. Sadly, it won’t happen now.”

    • BMan

      If anyone believes Manti Te’o wrote the statement above, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Kansas for you. That’s either the writing of an agent, a Notre Dame spokesperson, or both.

  18. Video of Manti learning about her death:

  19. Brian Kelly gave the “GF” the game ball after the Mich. State game. LOL

  20. From Twitter:

    Turns out Manti wasn’t missing tackles against Bama…he was hugging his GF.

  21. The Lone Stranger

    So … the “least” of it is that this self-absorbed creep Te’o created a fake dead woman?! And the worst — that it was shamelessly trotted out as a prop by both ND and the media schmucks to drive along candidacy for a award and monetary gain by the Ivory Tower in Indiana. This is stupefying, and I’m not sure where it leads.

    • As I’ve said here before, this “tragedy” played a huge part in Teo sweeping all seven national defensive awards and his trip to NY, while Jarvis’s real family tragedy went unmentioned. The Butkus, etc. should be retracted and awarded to the most deserving linebacker, sans touching backstories.

      Heard a reporter tonight on WWL radio say when he asked Teo for a photo and contact info for the girl’s family, he quickly pleaded requests for privacy on their behalf. The reporter tried and failed to find her obit.

      • yeah that was Gene Wojciechowski from ESPN. he said same thing on tv tonight.

      • Brandon

        +1, those awards should be revoked and given to the second place finishers. It was clear to me after watching the Bama-ND game that ALL of UGA’s starting linebackers were as good or better than ND and Jarvis and Ogletree light years better.

    • some on the ND boards are saying the “out of town gf” was created by Teo and a close friend to eliminate questions about why Teo wasn’t dating girls…..

      • That was my first thought actually. If the kid is gay, a football player, and somoan, that’s not exactly a receptive group to one out to. Though I’m not sure that fabricating a huge national news story is wise to divert attention.

  22. hey to goober

    Maybe she was an inflatable girlfriend …

    • These Te’o jokes are all very funny but let’s all try and remember that a person who never existed is dead.

      • It’s okay. I sent make-believe flowers in the name of GTP bloggers everywhere.
        Nice ones.
        All roses.
        48 of ’em.
        In six different colors.
        With a whole baby’s breath bush.
        Sent them on a private JetStream.
        Which force-landed in Missouri to rescue a trapped puppy.
        No, a kitten.
        Really cute one, like you see on Facebook.
        Y’all are welcome.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Yeah, show a little respect. We ought to set up a memorial fund in her honor. Send all donations (cash only) to the Lennay Kekua Memorial Fund, c/o Mayor of Dawgtown, City Hall, Dawgtown, GA. I’ll be certain the contributions get to the right folks.

  23. tbia

    Now the meme is that he played so poorly against Bama because the revelation of the scandal was weighing so heavily on him.

  24. Just sort of similar to that hyper hyped team from in the 2008 Sugar. Another hoax. LOL

  25. Hairydawg

    It’s a travesty that Jarvis Jones’ (real !!!) heartbreaking but inspiring story was never shared with college football fans across the country. That was bad enough. But to find out that a lying POS deliberately created a fake personal tragedy story in order to garner public attention resulting in a sweep of the defensive awards over Jones, is infuriating.

    • Macallanlover

      So true. Wonder what the WWL, working with the ND hype machine could have done with a real story? This ho-axe began about the time the Te’o for Heisman campaign was getting geared up.

      In other news, rumor is Te’o isn’t from Hawaii at all, just a huge Mexican with tribal tatoos.

    • Janet Cook

      Perception is reality. It doesn’t matter that the story isn’t true. Truth is optional. What matters is that people liked the story and responded by voting awards to him because of it. At least he won’t be stripped of those awards like I was –will he?

  26. Noonan

    Deadspin has more credibility than the mainstream media.

  27. Swarbrick press conference summarized: Manti was duped. Manti never meant to infer it was anything but an online and phone relationship. When Manti talked about or described meeting her (such as after Stanford game), he meant “meeting her online.” Manti tried to meet her in person, but she never showed. Swarbrick wouldn’t go into specific details citing student privacy, but Manti’s grief, pain and affection for her were all real.

    • Even if you accept Swarbrick and Manti’s version of events, it means Manti has been in a committed relationship “online” with a girl he has never met in person since the 2009 stanford game. A 3 year relationship. Now I can understand being duped for a couple months…but 3 years. If true, he is pathetic.

      But we all know its not true….

      • The Lone Stranger

        I think we can all infer by now that he is, in point of fact, unabashedly pathetic. Even pathetique!

      • Dawgfan Will

        Hell, even if it was true, what kind of dude has a girlfriend who is in a car accident and contracts cancer within a few months of each other, yet he never goes to see her?

    • cube

      It’s absolutely amazing that he expects anyone to believe that. Wow.

  28. HVL Dawg

    Damn, the offseason is off to a great start!

  29. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Guess he can be glad he didn’t put it on his resume.

  30. Puffdawg

    Manti Te’o trying to add an Oscar to his already impressive award winning year.

  31. rocksalt

    The saddest thing of all is that this will likely not have any Fulmer Cup implications – surely an honorable mention??

  32. So now they are calling her “Nosuch Dame” lol.

  33. cube

    I love how Notre Dame is continuing to lie about it. They just keep dragging it out…

  34. Derek

    I still say he’s being a “linebacker” is the bigger hoax.

  35. Jack Swarbrick

    Manti also told me that his girlfriend was once a unicorn before she became the President of the underground United States during the years of 1945-1723. Tomorrow is the day he will be contacted again by the hoaxers about his next shipment of gasoline, even though he has never used a phone. He is real…phones are real…gasoline is real…and unicorns could be real if we allow them to be.

    • What’s naive is that Swarbrick believes Manti’s story about being a victim because Swarbrick was shown some recent online chatter and emails where the perpetrators were bragging about it.

      Doesn’t Swarbrick realize that such chatter can also be easily fabricated to deflect blame away from Te’o? I could manufacture such evidence in 10 minutes.

      • cube (Swarbrick had to step away)

        I don’t think Swarbrick believes that at all. I think he’s lying through his teeth.

  36. cube

    Notre Dame and Manti worked awfully hard on this alibi and I think it would be polite if everyone could act like they believe it for at least a day or so. Humor them.

  37. SCarolinaDawg

    Just read something on bleacher report (yes, i know, but it popped up on google results) that an Arizona Cardinal is saying he met her doing mission work in American Samoa. He says she’s real. This is some of the weirdest shit I’ve ever heard of.

    • Bobby

      Maybe somebody actually DID go to the trouble of getting an actual human being to make occasional appearances, masquerading as Te’o’s GF. That would really make this a “sophisticated, cruel prank.” However, this theory seems not to hold water b/c the photo of the GF was unknowingly taken from another girl’s facebook profile; the stand-in GF would have to look like the girl in the photo, or else the deception would be exposed.

      I would say that the Occam’s Razor principle suggests that Te’o was a participant in this elaborate ruse. But, this whole story is anything but simple. So, who knows?

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Bobby, most things in life are not really all that complicated once you see them exposed to the light of day. Te’o and a few of his friends concocted a fake girlfriend for some reason. Some may think it was to cover up the fact that Te’o is gay. That may be true. But whatever the reason might have been initially, the phony story was used to sell Te’o to the public as a sympathetic figure to help him gain traction for the Butkus and other post season awards and Te’o was in on it. If he has an ounce of decency he will give the awards back. But anyone who would pull this has no decency so don’t expect him to offer to give back the awards anytime soon. This sorry episode also confirms what I have heard for years about ND–that the place, while pretending to be so high and mighty, is actually the dirtiest program in all of CFB, maybe not in recruiting, but in every other way.

        • Cojones

          An ND recruiting story bandied about in the early 60s:

          Seems that Bama’s Bryant had a bigtime heavyweight Penn coal country O lineman committed to Bama. During the summer, asst coaches were asked to drop by the kid’s place to see if they could help in the upcoming transition. He lived with his mother, they were poor and kicking in for groceries wasn’t something that the NCAA looked at closely.

          When one Bama assistant dropped by at midsummer, he noticed new wheels in the driveway before inquiring for the lad. His mother related that he was gone on a camping trip. Knowing that he had a summer job to help support them both, the asst inquired as to where he went. Her reply was that he had departed in a camper for Yellowstone with the nicest priests she had ever met and they had left a car for their usage until he enrolled in the fall. Several weeks later he changed his committment to ND.

          True rumor at that time and I’m not trying to scam anyone at this opportune moment.

          Also would like to take the time to tell those who are attempting to order a Fing Scooter that it was all a put-on. Haven’t had the heart to kill the dealership since Taiwan was showing a marketing interest and asked me to continue the stories supported by historical background of the Fing Dynasty. I am the victim of an overexuberant capitalistic society. ‘Course if you want to inquire about our newer models…….

        • Bobby

          I don’t think there is anything simple about this story at all. Everything about it is complicated. In other words, I don’t think we’re ever going to get a definitive version of events. There are too many loose ends and contradictions floating around to form a seamless narrative.

          The most likely scenario–I think–is that he was in on it from the get-go. That’s not a particularly bold prediction. However, the complexity is in how it started, how it was devised and carried out, who was involved, and the extent of Manti’s culpability in the scandal. IN all likelihood, none of that will ever get resolved.

          And what about Notre Dame’s continued advocacy for Manti? Are they just determined to go down w/ this sinking ship? Notre Dame has taken an actual position–that Manti was NOT a perpetrator of the hoax but a victim of it. That’s bizarre that they would do that in the first place. Why take a firm position when you could take a much more evasive posture toward the press? So, how do you account for this? Assuming Notre Dame is dirty and crooked, I don’t think anybody thinks ND is stupid. Unless they believe Manti’s version of events 100%, taking the official position they have is stupid.

  38. Normaltown Mike

    Glitch in the matrix?

  39. D.N. Nation

    …Jarvis Jones was still better.

    (So was Tree.)

  40. People crack me up. Funniest link ever about the Teo scandal:

  41. George O'Leary

    Go easy on T’eo. He was one of the best players I ever coached at Notre Dame.

  42. Tom

    Brent Musberger reports that AJ McCarrons girlfriend will be a Swimsuit model for SI. Manti’s GF is being featured on Mythbusters!

  43. Al Gore

    The evidence that Kukua did in fact exist is overwhelming. The debate is over. All you deniers need to wise up.

  44. mike in orlando

    Vanity Fair had an unreal story in 1999 (and reprinted it in a special ed of the mag last year) about a purported blonde named ‘Miranda’ who duped numerous Hollywood bigwigs, including a big-time music producer who never met her (only on phone) yet still felt she was the love of his life. I don’t believe Te’o, but the mag story is unreal: http://byliner.com/bryan-burrough/stories/the-miranda-obsession

  45. roterhalsdawg

    At least it appears Teo is “available” so Herbstreit can now follow up on his mancrush.