Well not so fast. Deadspin did some very basic fact checking of Te'o's story and started to find some discrepancies. The fact checkers found some very ugly and obvious discrepancies. Like no one had ever seen this Te'o girlfriend. Evidently Te'o had been dating Mr. Snuffleupagus. His girlfriend did not exist.
Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, the stories said, played this season under a terrible burden. A Mormon linebacker who led his Catholic school's football program back to glory, Te'o was whipsawed between personal tragedies along the way. In the span of six hours in September, as told it, Te'o learned first of the death of his grandmother, Annette Santiago, and then of the death of his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua.
Kekua, 22 years old, had been in a serious car accident in California, and then had been diagnosed with leukemia.
Upon receiving the news of the two deaths, Te'o went out and led the Fighting Irish to a 20-3 upset of Michigan State, racking up 12 tackles. It was heartbreaking and inspirational. Te'o would appear on ESPN's to talk about the letters Kekua had written him during her illness. He would send a heartfelt letter to the parents of a sick child, discussing his experience with disease and grief. The wrote an article describing the young couple's fairytale meeting—she, a Stanford student; he, a Notre Dame star—after a football game outside Palo Alto.'s Pete Thamel described how Te'o would phone her in her hospital room and stay on the line with her as he slept through the night. "Her relatives told him that at her lowest points, as she fought to emerge from a coma, her breathing rate would increase at the sound of his voice," Thamel wrote.
Did you enjoy the uplifiting story, the tale of a man who responded to adversity by becoming one of the top players of the game? If so, stop reading.