Here’s What Jack Swarbrick And Notre Dame Want You To Believe About The Manti Te’o Girlfriend Hoax
This evening, Notre Dame’s Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick gave a press conference about a scandal involving its star linebacker, Manti Te’o.
Earlier this season, the nation ate up a story about a talented man with a tragic story: in less than a week, football player Manti Te’o lost both his grandmother and his long-time girlfriend, Lennay Kekua.
But Kekua turned out to be a hoax. As Deadspin reported earlier today, Kekua never existed. Now Te’o and Notre Dame have both given statements.
College Spun reported the event live. Here’s what Swarbrick and the school want you to believe about the breaking news.
- Manti Te’o is a victim of a “catfish.” In other words, he was tricked into believing he was interacting with someone online who never actually existed. Therefore, he thought he was dating Lennay Kekua, but instead he was conversing with someone (or multiple people) pretending to be her.
- Te’o is a kind and good person, who’s the “perfect mark” for a hoax like this.
- This hoax was very elaborate. It involved multiple “characters” (as in, it involved more than just Lennay Kekua. The perpetrators made up a character for her mother, cousins, etc). It’s unclear if it was executed by one person or multiple individuals.
- The motive for the hoax isn’t clear, other than cruelty.
- On December 26, Te’o notified the university that he thought he was a Catfish victim.
- The school never debated breaking the story itself, although it knew the story would be publicized eventually. They felt it was Te’o's story to tell.
- The school didn’t tell the authorities about Te’o's situation. But they did involve private investigators. Swarbrick did not name the firm the school used.
- The “relationship” between Te’o and his made-up girlfriend was an online and phone relationship only. The pair never met in person, contrary to previous reports.
If you missed the press conference, here are our live notes from Swarbrick’s talk earlier this evening.