NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) —A hoax of epic proportions rocked the world of one of college footballs brightest athletes.
Sports site Deadspin.com published a report on Wednesday alleging a “hoax” involving Notre Dame star Manti Te’o. In the lengthy investigative piece, Deadspin said Lennay Kekua, who was thought to be Te’o’s deceased girlfriend, never existed.READ MORE: Police Trying To Identify Man Accused Of Making Anti-Asian Statements Toward Woman At Upper East Side Subway Station
On Twitter, the sports world reacted with shock. Notre Dame released a statement, saying Te’o appeared to be the “victim” of “a sad and very cruel deception.” Te’o may have been “in on it,” Deadspin reported.
However, later Wednesday, Te’o issued a statement saying “I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies.”
“This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her,” the statement read.
Notre Dame officials said coaches found out December 26 from Te’o himself. Te’o told them he received a phone call from a number he recognized as his deceased girlfriend, CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported.
The woman on the other end of the line said all along she used a fake name and lied about the entire tragedy.
Brian Hamilton, Notre Dame beat reporter for the the Chicago Tribune, said the report was “nothing short of stunning” on WFAN radio.