Manti Te’o’s Girlfriend

January 17, 2013

Yesterday afternoon Deadspin broke the craziest story I have ever seen or heard of.  The girlfriend that Manti Te’o supposedly lost to cancer on September 12th, and whom he subsequently dedicated his entire season to, never existed.  Lennay Kakua has no social security number, no record of ever attending Stanford, and no death cetificate or record of a funeral.  The details of the story are available all over the internet but I encourage you to read the original story on Deadspin.  It is by far the most detailed and interesting account out there so far.

This story has raised a ton of questions, and most of them are yet to be answered in a satisfactory manner.  The biggest of these questions is whether Te’o was involved in the hoax or just a victim.  Te’o himself, and the Notre Dame athletic department, have both released statements staunchly claiming that Te’o was misled and victimized by an unnamed internet source.  This is so far fetched that I actually cannot believe Te’o had the balls to even try and lie about it.

My immediate reaction to the official statements from Te’o and Notre Dame was a strong “C’mon Man” and nothing I have heard since then has changed my opinion.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Te’o was complicit in the scam from the beginning.  A lot of the details have been omitted by the mainstream sports media so far (ESPN, SI, Yahoo) presumably until they can be verified, but if you read the Deadspin article the evidence really piles up.  Te’o repeatedly claimed to have met Kakua in person, and his father stated that she traveled to Hawaii and spent time with the family.  These accounts are directly at odds with the statements from Te’o and Notre Dame that claim the entire relationship took place online.  It is possible that Te’o’s lies were of the harmless variety and were intended only to make him seem cooler for having an online girlfriend, but the sheer amount of lying and deception involved points to a much deeper secret.

Many people seem to think that being in a multi-year online relationship with a fake person is a reasonable mistake to make.  That something like this could “happen to anyone.”  I am not buying that for a second.  I am sure something like this has actually happened before but not in this day and age.  People, especially young people, are so familiar with the internet and social media now that I refuse to believe anyone could actually have been duped in this manner.  It is very common to get the occasional facebook request or twitter follow from an unknown and very attractive person.  It takes about three minutes of investigation to realize that they aren’t real.  The typical indicators are very few friends or followers, weird or unbelievable information or a lack of long-term activity.  Every high school and college kid in the country could identify these people as fake in minutes.  So how could Te’o have been fooled for years.

While there is not yet any conclusive proof that Te’o was complicit in this scam, the official Raw Thoughts consensus is that he was involved from the beginning.  This would indicate mental unbalance and a general lack of understanding of the way the internet works that may be hard to believe, but its the only explanation that makes any sense.


Now lets go rapid fire on some of the other big questions this story has raised.


What was the motive behind this deception?The common assumption is that Te’o invented and then faked the death of his girlfriend as a publicity stunt to increase his chances of winning the Heisman.  As of now this is where most of the evidence points and is the most likely answer.

There is another possibility however, one that immediately springs to mind when reading the full details of this situation.  I am going to beat around the bush here because I don”t know if this blog is big enough to get sued for libel, and I don’t want to find out.  In general terms however, I think we can agree that life would be very difficult for a Hawaiian, Mormon, All-American linebacker at Notre Dame who happened to be gay.  We can also agree that one way to avoid allegations of homosexuality is to get a girlfriend.  If you connect the dots it is easy to see an alternate explanation for why Te’o may have been engaged in a fraudulent relationship.

(I want to make it clear that I do not think an athlete, or any person, needs to hide the fact that they are gay.  I am just simply noting that given Teo’s background, were he to be gay, he would probably want to hide it.)

How did this farce last so long?

This question might be more puzzling to me than anything else.  Major props to Deadspin for breaking the story, but they didn’t figure out that Lennay Kakua never existed until 4 months after her “death.”  The tardiness of Deadspin is nothing compared to the complete abdication of journalistic responsibility on the part of the rest of the media.  Sports Illustrated put Te’o on the cover of an issue yet failed to notice that his girlfriend wasn’t enrolled in Stanford, didn’t have a social security number and wasn’t registered at a single hospital.  That is just unacceptable and embarrassing.  ESPN is equally guilty.  The World Wide Leader seems to have given up on actual reporting in favor of holding their dicks and watching Skip Bayless yell at Stephen A. Smith.

Has Delonte West been dethroned as the stupidest athlete on Twitter?

Yes.  100% yes.  Depending on which version of the story you believe Te’o either was tricked into a multi-year relationship with a fake person, or believed he could get away with creating, and then killing off, a fake girlfriend.  Either way, that is the stupidest thing anyone has ever done on Twitter.

What happens next?

The truth is going to come out.  There is too much information out there for this to go away until we get a satisfactory answer.  My guess is that the eventual answers come from an NFL team.  Anybody thinking about drafting Te’o has to be in complete panic mode trying to wrap their heads around this situation.  They have the money and the motivation to get to the bottom of this and I believe they will figure it out.


I want to wrap this up with a joke I stole from twitter.

Check out Manti Te’o’s girlfriend in a bikini:




2 Responses to “Manti Te’o’s Girlfriend”

  1. Chalupa Batman said

    Great post, bro.

  2. […] I am not saying that Ray Lewis is a bad person, or that he definitely killed those men.  We will never know what really happened that night so it would be unfair to judge Lewis exclusively on that one incident.  It is equally unfair however to completely ignore it when forming our opinions of him.  The media need to stop glossing over this extremely unsavory aspect of Lewis’ past and paint the full picture of the man.  Failure to do so would be to ignore the facts in favor of the narrative.  This is irresponsible journalism, and one would think a less common practice after the Te’o debacle. […]

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