A Notre Dame teammate of Manti Te’o says the players were suspicious about Te’o’s girlfriend and described the Heisman Trophy candidate as a “very good” actor.
Te’o said in a news release Wednesday that he is the victim of an online hoax and that he fell in love with a woman he believed to be Lennay Kekua. An explosive Deadspin report says Kekua doesn’t exist, was not Te’o’s girlfriend and didn’t die of leukemia as Te’o painfully told reporters throughout the 2012 season.
Rather, Deadspin writes, she was the online creation of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a friend or acquaintance of Te’o. Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick says the alleged hoax, which the university hired a private company to investigate, involved numerous characters, including a woman pretending to be someone named Lennay Kekua. Te’o said he talked to her nightly and that he “met” her after a game at Stanford in 2009.
When she “died” in September 2012, the same day his grandmother died, Te’o appeared devastated.
“We all knew he had only seen her once,” an unnamed player told PepperOnSports.com. “But when the media was saying how he went through both deaths, we knew."