Manti admits he lied about having a fake girlfriend, but according to a new report, he felt he had to!
Manti Te’o reportedly told friends that he knew the truth about “Lennay Kekua” in early December, when he got a phone call from the real “Lennay” on Dec. 6, months after he thought she was dead. Yet, he continued to lie about it for 20 more days.
Manti, 21, didn’t tell his coaches at the University of Notre Dame about the hoax until Dec. 26 because he thought it would be a huge distraction while the team prepared to face Alabama in the BCS Championship, a source tells TMZ.
Manti revealed that his 72-year-old grandmother died in early September 2012, while his “girlfriend” Lennay supposedly died just one day later of leukemia. During his very next football game, Manti had a record 12 tackles, helping lead his time to an inspiring 20-3 win.
However, as Deadspin has revealed after thorough investigation, there was no record of Lennay’s death anywhere, and the photos that had been identified as the young woman were actually those of a 23-year-old from California, Diane O’Meara, who had never met the football player.
Manti Te’o’s Statement
Manti issued a statement on Jan. 16, claiming he had been the victim of a “sick joke.” He said:
“This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her. To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating. In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.”
What do YOU think, HollywoodLifers? Does Manti Te’o deserve punishment?
— Chris Rogers
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