In case you haven’t heard by now, Notre Dame Football star Manti Te’o has been caught (or involved) in a big ole hoax! On Wednesday Deadspin set the Internet ablaze when it published a report that debunked the story of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s former girlfriend and her supposed death. As it turns out, Te’o’s girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed, despite the fact that the two exchanged countless messages over the Internet, reportedly spoke for hours on the telephone, and supposedly even met.
Since we haven’t got a clearer picture of what actually went down, there are several conspiracy theories that are rising to the top of this mess.
1. His Mormonism Made Him Create A Girlfriend To Avoid The Pressures Of Pre-Marital Sex
There is one theory about how Te’o could have been so devoted to a person he barely knew: He is a devout follower of the Mormon church, which does not allow pre-marital sex. A “fake” girlfriend could eliminate the pressure of groupies and locker room banter about sex.
2. He Created A Girlfriend To Hide His Sexuality
Te’o has claimed he was the victim of a hoax, but the bizarre tale has led some to wonder if Te’o was attempting to hide a different secret–his sexuality. Outsports writes:
I can certainly understand why people think this might be pointing to his sexual orientation. There has never been a publicly out NFL player. There has never been a publicly out Div. 1 football player. But we know they’re out there. And if they were out there and wanted to hide their sexual orientation — or a relationship with another man — a fictitious girlfriend is a good way to do it. The fantastic story about car accidents and death by leukemia would just be showing off that stereotypical gay flair for the dramatic.
3. It was a Hoax; He Was Naive To The Whole Thing.
This seems to be the theory the Te’o camp is running with. He released the following statement:
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. To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone’s sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating.
The star of MTV’s Catfish, Nev Schulman, says this isn’t too uncommon and hopes all the attention the story was getting would help inspire conversation about what is quickly becoming a commonplace (if not slightly troubling) phenomenon.
“It’s very embarrassing, of course. No one likes to admit that they got scammed or duped, especially when you retell the story in an abbreviated version. It generally sounds sort of ridiculous that you fell for it…Since this is a national story, it will hopefully shed some more light and really spark a lot more conversations about what clearly me and [‘Catfish’ co-star] Max [Joseph] already know is a very real, very serious phenomenon that’s taking place,” he concluded, “Because, clearly we can see from this example that this is just the beginning.”
It’s a LOT to take in! Which theory do you believe?
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