Manti Te'o's Girlfriend: It's Time to Come Clean

It’s time to come clean, Manti.

You were in on the hoax. You had everyone fooled, hook, line and sinker.

The stories of you playing through the pain and adversity of losing your girlfriend Lennay Kekua to her battle with Leukemia touched everyone and propelled your image to new heights. Reeling from the news, along with the actual, true death of your grandmother, you led your team to a 20-3 upset of Michigan State, posting 12 tackles.

But you never needed the added boost to your reputation. You were one of the most decorated defensive players in college football history. In addition to being named runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting, you won the Maxwell Award, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Butkus Award, the Bronco Nagurski Award, the Lombardi Award and the Walter Camp Award.

Once you confess, the healing can begin. The healing for your family and friends. For Notre Dame. For your fans. For you.

You need to come clean.

Your most fervent supporters are buying your alibi, but most of the public isn’t. Are we to believe that a star college linebacker dated a girl they never, ever personally interacted with? That you never Skyped with her? Not even Facetime? Why would you not once visit your dying loved one in the hospital? As for the funeral, you say it was her dying wish that you never miss a game. That was a nice touch.

Looking for more information on Manti Te'o's girlfriend? Chat Sports has all of the the latest Notre Dame football news and rumors!

You originally said that you met Lennay at a 2009 Stanford game where you swapped numbers. You said that you spoke to her on the phone every night, listening to her breathe while she fell asleep in the hospital. You also said that she was the most beautiful girl you’ve ever met, but now your tune has changed. Now you say you never met her at all, that you were too embarrassed to admit that you had an exclusively online girlfriend. You say that you were the victim of a heinous hoax. And like you said, you have the NFL draft to look forward to, to ease the pain.

But what will the NFL brass think of the elaborate scheme it seems you perpetrated?

NFL Draft Guru Todd McShay of Scouts Inc. caught up with some scouts and said the early returns are less than favorable. While you remain one of the top prospects heading into April’s NFL Entry Draft (sitting at No. 8 on Mel Kiper’s Big Board) and figure to be one of the main storylines of the fan-crazed event, what will scouts think of the situation? The combine is notorious for the in-depth, CIA like interrogations that go on when scouts are vetting potential prospects. After all, they’re investing millions of dollars in these athletes as well as potential jobs of their own. With this giant red flag, you’re sure to be interviewed on the situation over and over, interrogated on the details like you’re on an episode of Homeland.

You need to come clean.

You’re just 21, surely people will eventually forgive you if you apologize. We all make mistakes, especially at that age. Having a tell-all press conference where you offer a mea culpa would be respectable. Maybe make the rounds on the talk show circuit. Take a look at the Lance Armstrong PED scandal and see how that unraveled out of control. Ironically, Armstrong announced just days earlier what everyone already knew – that he had doped for his record seven Tour de France championships. While the public is understandably angry with Armstrong for duping an entire nation and cause, they will probably eventually forgive him. But unlike Armstrong, who has his athletic career behind him, your professional career is very much ahead of you.

While you will be known as the guy with the fake girlfriend for a long time, the sooner you admit it you were in on it, the quicker it will all go away. Living with the guilt must be hard. Armstrong did it for close to 14 years. It’s a heavy burden to carry, to have to lie to people every day. Don’t let your apology take that long.

Look at how lies, cheating and deceit have ravaged the reputation of some of the most well known Major Leaguers. Barry Bonds, one of the greatest statistically to ever play the game, didn’t make the Hall of Fame on the first try weeks ago. Ditto Roger Clemens. Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, though, eventually admitted that he used performance-enhancing drugs and soon after the public forgave him. He was commended by the media for apologizing and admitting he had wronged. Why not do the same?

You need to come clean.

Perhaps the weight of the lie is too much to bear. Surely you don’t want to let your supporters down, namely Notre Dame athletic director Jack

Swarbrick. Swarbrick had your back almost the second the story hit Deadspin Thursday and went viral. He held a media conference and painted you as a victim. Swarbrick said that this situation didn’t shake his faith in you one bit.

Admit you made a mistake of massive proportions. Explain how once the lie got started, it got bigger than you ever anticipated. It got bigger beyond your wildest dreams. It got too big to escape and before you knew it, the story was national news and part of your narrative.

It’s going to be part of your narrative for a long time, perhaps throughout your NFL career. If you admit you created this elaborate hoax to sway public opinion and help you gain Heisman votes, the healing can begin. The sooner you do it, the better. Right your wrongs.

Come clean, Manti.

You can write to Mike Coppinger at and follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger

Back to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Newsfeed