It was back in November, before Notre Dame played Boston College, that I made my first-ever trip to South Bend, Ind., assigned to write about star linebacker Manti Te’o.
By that time, his story was well-known, featured in everything from the South Bend Tribune to Sports Illustrated. Te’o had lost his grandmother and his girlfriend within six hours of each other in September. He had played on, helped the Irish beat Michigan State, and made a moving tribute to the girl he said he loved.
Now, suddenly, we learn that she never existed. It was mind-blowing — all the more so because I had heard it from him directly.
So I read Deadspin. I read Twitter. I watched Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick explain the college’s side of the story. I yearned to hear from Te’o. And I couldn’t help but think about my role in all of this, as yet another complicit reporter who retold Te’o’s tale.
When I was at Notre Dame, I spoke with Te’o in the presence of other reporters, starting with a general question about his year — the highs and the lows — not specifically mentioning Lennay Kekua.
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