For those unfamiliar, it was widely reported that Te’o's grandmother and girlfriend died within days of one another in September. It was a story mentioned many times during the college football season, and was even used as reasoning for Te’o's Heisman candidacy by some.
Deadspin reported on Wednesday that Te’o's girlfriend was fake. It’s still unclear how much involvement the Notre Dame linebacker had in the hoax, but he had talked about meeting her and speaking with her on the phone in the past.
To complicate matters further, Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Maui’a claims that Lennay Kekua, Te’o's fake girlfriend, is in fact real.
Maui’a spoke to ESPN on Kekua and told them he met her in American Samoa in June 2011.
“This was before her and Manti,” Maui’a told ESPN. “I don’t think Manti was even in the picture, but she and I became good friends. We would talk off and on, just checking up on each other kind of thing. I am close to her family. When she was going through the loss of her father, I was — I offered a comforting shoulder and just someone to bounce her emotions off. That was just from meeting her in Samoa.”
Mauia met Kekua through Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who was reportedly behind the hoax. Maui’a believed that Kekua was Tuiasosopo’s cousin. Kekua was explicit in saying that Kekua was real and thinks that her mother is running her Twitter account.
On Wednesday evening, Kekua’s account sent out the following:
It isn't fair to drag Reagan and Troy into this.. a lot of truths and myths need to be addressed here, and they will be at noon PST tomorrow—
L K (@LennayKay) January 17, 2013
So, apparently there is a Lennay Kekua, but maybe it’s not the one that Te’o thought he was dating? Because the picture Kekua was using on Twitter was of another woman that had never met Te’o. According to “Kekua’s” Twitter account, we’ll find out Thursday. Notre Dame also announced Te’o would be making a statement as soon as Thursday regarding the hoax.
Photo via Facebook/Reagan-Mauia
Twitter user @RealXVII noted this is a picture of Te’o hugging his girlfriend.
Photo via Twitter/@RealXVII
“When he answered it, it was a person whose voice sounded like the same voice he had talked to, who told him that she was, in fact, not dead.”
– Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick on Te’o receiving a phone call from his fake dead girlfriend after she had fake died
It will be very easy to trash-talk Te’o in the NFL.
It’s okay, she had “rollover in her grave” minutes. RT @Draft_Hub: The phone call from the dead girlfriend really takes the cake—
(@RumfordJohnny) January 17, 2013
Well, this highly emotional piece holds about half as much weight now.