Manti Te’o is a member of the Notre Dame football team. A hoax has been perpetrated by Ronalah Tulasosopo, who tricked Te’o into thinking that there was a woman named Lennay Kekua, but this woman actually never existed. Public sympathy was aroused for Te’o when his fans discovered that not only did his grandmother die, but his girlfriend did, also, within days of each other.
This was in the midst of a successful Notre Dame season. He left the impression of a tragic winner, something that is very interesting in popular culture. However, it was all based on a hoax. No one knows why the hoax was perpretated in the first place. But there are other mysteries as well.
For example, was Te’o aware that Kekua did not exist? Was he in on the hoax the whole time? Katie Couric asked him in an interview if he could have been part of the hoax because he was gay. He chuckled in response, according to the article, but did not become angry. Another mystery was that Te’o did not visit his girlfriend (whom he had never met), even when she suffered major setbacks like being diagnosed with leukemia. Te’o admitted that near the end, he knew that Kekua did not exist, but he only gave two interviews where he lied in order to protect his own dignity.
When Kekua and Te’o would meet online, there would just be a black screen where she was supposed to be, according to the article. This does not make Te’o seem that smart, because it seems obvious that some trickery is going on if there is a woman who is talking to you but she will not actually appear on camera. This is one reason why many think that Te’o was involved in the hoax all along. Is he gay? That is another question.
Another mystery is the matter of the voicemail. A person pretending to be Kekua called Te’o and left a message. The person seems to be a woman based on the voice, but it is possible that it was the hoaxer himself, or perhaps a female friend of the hoaxer.
The article sums up four questions to which we still do not know the answer: Who was the girl who left messages on Te’o’s phone? When Te’o was on the phone with the person who supposedly was Kekua, who was it really? Why did Tulasosopo perpetuate the hoax in the first place—was it really just to help Te’o as Tulasosopo suggests? And why did Te’o pretend he had a girlfriend when he clearly did not?
It’s a fascinating situation, and will be very interesting to follow! What do you think really happened?