Manti plays make believe, will his draft stock drop?
In one of the most absurd stories one has ever heard of, Fighting Irish star linebacker Mani Te’o told an inspirational story about his girlfriend. Now, according to Deadspin.com that entire story is a hoax.
Please beware, the following story will make your jaw drop.
The Heisman linebacker of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is ready to enter the 2013 NFL Draft. In Mel Kiper’s Mock Draft 1.0 the winner of the Nagurski, Butkus, and Lott trophies is slated to be drafted 8th overall by the Buffalo Bills.
His draft stock took a dip when Notre Dame was blown out in the National Championship game and he was run over by Alabama’s duo running back tandem of Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon who racked up 265 total rushing yards on Te’o and the Irish defense.
Now, the intangibles are going to be questioned.
It was a heart-breaking story, his girlfriend Lennay Kekua was in a serious car accident and diagnosed with leukemia. According to Deadspin, SI‘s Pete Thamel described how Te’o would phone her in her hospital room and stay on the line with her as he slept through the night. “Her relatives told him that at her lowest points, as she fought to emerge from a coma, her breathing rate would increase at the sound of his voice,” Thamel wrote.
Deadspin continued, “there is no SSA record there of the death of Lennay Marie Kekua, that day or any other. Her passing, recounted so many times in the national media, produces no obituary or funeral announcement in Nexis, and no mention in the Stanford student newspaper. Nor is there any report of a severe auto accident involving a Lennay Kekua. Background checks turn up nothing. The Stanford registrar’s office has no record that a Lennay Kekua ever enrolled. There is no record of her birth in the news. Outside of a few Twitter and Instagram accounts, there’s no online evidence that Lennay Kekua ever existed. The photographs identified as Kekua—in online tributes and on TV news reports—are pictures from the social-media accounts of a 22-year-old California woman who is not named Lennay Kekua. She is not a Stanford graduate; she has not been in a severe car accident; and she does not have leukemia. And she has never met Manti Te’o.”
The die-hard Mormon who believes so strongly in his faith never actually met this woman?
The stories were made up to elevate his Heisman status and play of his team?
What and why?
Someone must answer these urging questions that remain after this report.
Every news outlet was fooled by Te’o and this story. From Sports Illustrated, ESPN, to even the Associated Press who stated Kekya’s funeral took place in Carson City, California which doesn’t exist!
Even the head coach Brian Kelly awarded the game ball to Lennay Kekua, handing it to Te’o to “take back to Hawaii.”
Fast forward a bit…
Can you imagine the conversations that will take place between Manti Te’o and NFL coaches, general managers, and owners?
So Manti…um, how did this happen? You never actually saw this woman?
What about the reception he will receive from his teammates who are now blindsided by these lies and lived it and felt it with him?
If you believe that this won’t hurt his draft-stock you are certainly mistaken, because as we have seen in the past - character is a big deal when it comes to drafting young players and obviously Manti’s could be flawed.
Update: On Dec. 26, Notre Dame coaches were informed by Manti Te’o and his parents that Manti had been the victim of what appears to be a hoax in which someone using the fictitious name Lennay Kekua apparently ingratiated herself with Manti and then conspired with others to lead him to believe she had tragically died of leukemia. The University immediately initiated an investigation to assist Manti and his family in discovering the motive for and nature of this hoax. While the proper authorities will continue to investigate this troubling matter, this appears to be, at a minimum, a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators. – CBSSports.com
Don’t you find it odd that Manti Te’o and his family came out and said the story was a hoax after the Heisman trophy was already awarded?