I’ve seen a few bold Heisman campaigns, but Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o may have just taken the cake. According to a report on Deadspin, the dead girlfriend story that gained national attention and helped push Te’o’s candidacy, was a complete hoax.
Deadspin investigated the background of the supposed girlfriend, Lennay Marie Kekua, and found that she never existed. She didn’t meet Te’o after a game at her supposed college, Stanford, and she didn’t have cancer that eventually took her life. She was the product of Twitter, apparently created and run by a friend of Te’o’s. Deadspin even tracked down the girl whose pictures were being used as Kekua’s, much to her surprise.
I suggest you go read the entire thing because it is absolutely riveting. The depth of the story, the other people who had to have known, and the length of the lie are all just incredible. And plenty of major news outlets took the story and ran and ran and ran with it as Notre Dame’s undefeated season, and Te’o’s Heisman chances, continued. It’s pretty sickening.