By now, you might have heard the news about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. Not about his inability to tackle anyone wearing crimson, which has been widely discussed, or his decision to forgo the Senior Bowl, which has also been thoroughly debated. (Thanks, ESPN!) No, the news of which I speak is much more…unnerving? Sad? Shameful? All of the above, really.
Te’o had been playing a large majority of his senior year at Notre Dame in memory of his late grandma and girlfriend, who both died in September. Only, that’s not exactly what happened. While it is true that T’eo lost his grandmother, he did not lose his girlfriend.
According to Deadspin, Te’o’s supposed girlfriend Lennay Kekua did not die in September, as has been reported by multiple news outlets. Nor did she ever exist. The entire relationship, they allege, is a hoax orchestrated by Te’o and a friend to gain publicity. I guess it worked?
The entire article is up on Deadspin, and I strongly encourage that you read it. While it is plenty interesting as solely a sports story, it also opens interesting discussions regarding the way we find and gain knowledge in a social media world.
Had this stunt been pulled even fifty years ago, chances are no one would be any the wiser. With the advent of Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram came the downfall of scams. What could have easily gone unnoticed for a decade now gets unearthed in minutes. Posting anything or maintaining any social presence makes it impossible to lie, especially if you’re famous. People will always be looking for something to expose you. The only surprise is that it took this long.