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A New Kind Of Catfish Leads To One Of The Most Bizaare Sports Stories Ever

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images Sport

Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te’o had everything going for him. He was the most decorated defensive collegiate player ever, including capturing runner-up for the Heisman Trophy. He helped lead the Fighting Irish to an undefeated season and the team made it all the way to the BCS National Championship game. They lost overwhelmingly to Alabama, and maybe it was the start of a looming cloud building around the star linebacker.

All through this past season, T’eo talked about the deaths of two important people in his life, his grandmother and his girlfriend, Stanford student Lennay Kekua. They supposedly died on the same day. If the media and the fans love anything, they love an inspirational story. However, this week, that inspirational story became tarnished by the revelation T’eo’s girlfriend never existed. It was also revealed he only communicated with her via phone and the internet. Yeah, T’eo was fooled by a catfish.

Catfish is a relatively new term to the slang lexicon. Three years ago, an interesting documentary, entitled Catfish, hit theaters and it describes to a tee the type of situation the athlete is going through right now. Two people contact each other, and either one may or may not be who he/she says he/she is. Just last November, MTV began airing a weekly show based on the documentary and I think because this type of online deception happens everyday. True confession time, all the online relationships I’ve experienced have led to real, live humans. T’eo was not so lucky, and now, the questions are coming at him and the university faster than the country can keep up with.

Was he set up? A new article from sports blog that broke the story, Deadspin indicates a friend may have helped fuel T’eo’s alternate reality. Or did T’eo exploit the hoax for attention and sympathy? One thing is certain, the star linebacker will have a hard time escaping the scandal and he will most definitely have a difficult time breaking into the NFL.

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