Statement Analysis®

The Manti Te'o Hoax

Manti Te'o is a collegiate football player at the University of Notre Dame. In the winter of 2009, he began a friendly online relationship with a woman named Lennay Kekua. Although they had never met, by 2012 Te'o considered Kekua to be his girlfriend. In June 2012, Kekua told Te'o she had leukemia. In September of that same year, Te'o's grandmother died. The next day Te'o received a phone call from Kekua's brother who told Te'o that Kekua had passed away. Several days later Te'o has a great game against Michigan State. In a post-game interview, he mentions the death of his grandmother and Kekua. His story makes national headlines.

On December 6, 2012, Te'o received a phone call from Kekua who told him she was not dead. It turned out that her death and her existence had been faked. On December 24, 2012, Te'o tells his family that he had been hoaxed. There are many people who wonder if Te'o was in on the hoax.

I haven't paid much attention to this case because it is obvious Te'o has not been completely honest. On December 8, 2012, he said he "lost both my grandparents and my girlfriend to cancer." Yet, on December 6 he claims to have received a phone call from his girlfriend. He told his father he had met Kekua which turned out not to be true. In an interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, Te'o said, "So I kind of tailored my stories." He may call it tailoring but most people call it lying. However, in regards to the hoax, from what I have seen it appears he is telling the truth about being duped.

Return to the In The News page

Return to the Famous Cases page