Manti Te’o’s hoax gains comic attention

Published On January 20, 2013 | By Hung Vong

Manti Te’o may be a dominating presence on the field, but the Notre Dame star linebacker learned something the press has to deal with every day: If you get your facts wrong, someone will notice.

On national television and Twitter, millions have noticed by now.

This past Saturday, the Dallas Stars poked fun at Te’o by showing an empty seat on the jumbotron at the game. The team tweeted on Saturday night that Te’o’s girlfriend would be at the game, and sure enough, made a show of it. Many fans followed suit on Twitter.

Te’o claimed he was a victim of an Internet hoax, but Amalie Benjamin, a contributor, had this to say. Benjamin had been covering Notre Dame football back in November, when Te’o allegedly told the reporters there that Lennay Kekua, his girlfriend that he never met, had died of leukemia on the same day his grandmother passed away.

“How much did he know? When did he know it? Why would someone do this to him? Or, conversely, why would he do this to all of us?” Benjamin wrote in the article.

It was an inspiring and emotional tale of loss and love, but the pieces just couldn’t fit together. This probably has to do with the fact that Kekua didn’t exist.

The first mention of Kekua by the press was when Brian Te’o, Te’o’s father, told the South Bend Tribune after a game against Stanford in November 2009 that Kekua “was gifted in music, multi-lingual, had dreams grounded in reality and the talent to catch up to them.” Notre Dame’s athletic director Jack Swarbrick reported that Te’o had never met Kekua in person at a later press conference.

A Te’o spoof also appeared on Saturday Night Live this weekend. You can watch it here.  And here’s the script.



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