After the shocking revelation that Manti’s dead girlfriend was nothing more than an elaborate hoax, Reagan Maui’a, a fullback for the Arizona Cardinals, is claiming that he’s met the dead girlfriend who he says was real. Could this get any more bizarre?
The sports world was shocked when Manti Te’o, the Heisman Trophy runner up from the University of Notre Dame, revealed on Jan. 16 that the existence, and tragic death, of his beloved girlfriend Lennay Kekua was an elaborate hoax. if that doesn’t make your head spin, this might: Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Maui’a claims Lennay was real!
According to ESPN.com, Reagan says he met the supposedly non-existant Lennay when he and other Polynesian teammates went to perform charity work in American Samoa in June of 2011. “This was before her and Manti,” the athlete said on Jan. 16. “I don’t think Manti was even in the picture, but she and I became good friends. We would talk off and on, just checking up on each other kind of thing. I am close to her family. When she was going through the loss of her father, I was — I offered a comforting shoulder and just someone to bounce her emotions off. That was just from meeting her in Samoa.”
Reagan went on to give reporters a physical description of the girl he believes existed, but doesn’t seem to ever actually have. “She was tall,” he said. “Volleyball-type of physique. She was athletic, tall, beautiful. Long hair. Polynesian. She looked like a model…”
When a reporter counters that it is becoming apparent that Lennay might not have ever existed, Reagan bristled. “No, she is real.”
‘Lennay Kekua’s Rise To Fame
Lennay was first written about in the media when Manti revealed that his 72-year-old grandmother died in early September 2012, with Lennay supposedly dying just one day later of leukemia. In his very next 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 22-year-old from California 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,” ignoring the puzzling reports that Manti and Lennay had met in person in 2009 and visited each other. Instead, he offered this:
“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 about this bizarre story, HollywoodLifers? Are you as baffled as we are?
— Billy Nilles
More On Manti Te’o’s Fake Girlfriend:
- Manti Te’o: ‘Catfish’ Creators Defend Linebacker: He’s A Victim Of A Hoax
- Manti Te’o Girlfriend Hoax Mastermind Used Fake Story For ‘The Voice’?
- Manti Te’o’s Girlfriend Is Alive — Lennay Kekua’s Identity Revealed