Looking back in sports history, we have seen some real doozies when it comes to the crazies such as Dennis Rodman, Mike Tyson, Chad Ochocinco, and John McEnroe. Sit back, relax, as we venture into the madness surrounding a bizarre story that has recently surfaced: the tale of Notre Dame’s star linebacker and captain, Manti Te’o, and his dead/nonexistent/made-up girlfriend.
This is a story so filled with twists and turns that it’s hard to decipher what is fact from fiction. Although, it seems that what was assumed as fact really turned out to be a fictional “hoax” according to the Fighting Irish. Do I know the truth of the situation? Nope. Do I think that Te’o might need to be referred to as “Captain Crazy” from now on? Yeah, I’m leaning that way.
The story goes like this: Te’o reportedly made acquaintance with Stanford University student “Lennay Kekua” in November 2009. Then it was reported the relationship was simply an online one, as many miles separated the two star-crossed lovebirds.
Fast forward a couple of years. Kekua is in a car crash, then is diagnosed with leukemia. On Sept. 12, 2012, Te’o learns that his real-life grandmother has passed away. Around that time he received a phone call letting him know that his girlfriend had also passed away. Talk about a crippling personal blow for the Heisman nominated linebacker.
Of course the devastated college star captivated media outlets and the nation; talk about your ultimate tale of hardship and perseverance. He was the devoted captain who continued to play through a devastating set of events.
Fast forward a few more months. Te’o receives a phone call from his supposedly dead girlfriend saying that she was in fact alive. Say what? So now, the girlfriend that Te’o may have met online, who was reportedly dead, is in fact alive and kicking.
Now we have the present day cluster of crazy. Te’o and Notre Dame claim that he was the victim of an elaborate hoax, while the news media begins to finally research the story of the supposed “Lennay Kekua.” New details emerge; a girl who is not “Lennay Kekua” claims that she is in fact the girl in the photos of Kekua. She also has never met Te’o, has never been in a severe car crash, and has never had leukemia. Then NFL athlete Reagan Mauia come out and says that Kekua does in fact exist and that he had met her.
Is it just me or does this whole twisted, confusing story have your head spinning right now? It seems as if there was definitely a hoax, but the question remains of who perpetrated said hoax. Is Te’o simply a victim, or is he the dastardly villain of this tale?
Perhaps he felt pressured by family or the media to have some sort of personal life. Maybe he thought a sob story would earn him a few sympathy votes in the Heisman race. Or maybe he was just a bored kid who had too much time on his hands and access to social media.
All we know is what is being reported to us through various media by the respective Notre Dame mouthpieces, and let’s face it, they are going to spin the story however they need to to keep a negative light from shining on the school.
We do know that there was no “Lennay Kekua” who died of leukemia on Sept. 11, 2012, in California. There was no “Lennay Kekua” in attendance at Stanford. The young woman in “Lennay Kekua’s” photos has come forth saying that she is not the linebacker’s girlfriend. We also have conflicting stories of how Te’o met his supposed girlfriend.
What we have here, folks, is a case of crazy in the 10th degree. Stay tuned during the next few weeks as more sordid details are sure to leak out into the open. I predict that by the beginning of February we will be able to determine if “Captain Crazy” was truly the victim here or if he is the maniacal conductor of this big hulking mess of a crazy train.
One thing is for sure, Lance Armstrong most definitely needs to send Te’o a little note thanking him for taking the spotlight off of the doping scandal.