In a hastily-called press conference on Wednesday, Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick addressed a Deadspin report that revealed Manti Te’o’s dead girlfriend never existed and was a hoax.
He said Te’o told him he “met” Lennay Marie Kekua, the girlfriend in question, at Stanford and in Hawaii, but it depended on what the word “met” meant.
Swarbrick said that though he wanted to let “Manti provide the details,” Te’o “met” Kekua at Stanford by meeting her online:
I asked him to take me to the beginning, he began by saying we met on. I said, ‘what do you mean you met on?’ It was an online meeting. He used the verb ‘we met,’ and he was referring to an online meeting. He responded to an online inquiry. That was the first time he met her. And as part of the hoax, several meetings were set up where Lennay never showed, including some in Hawaii.
Swarbrick said though “met’ would not have been a verb he would have used had he been in Te’o’s situation, Te’o’s used of the verb was consistent with its meaning.
When asked if Te’o also “met” Kekua in Hawaii, Swarback simply replied Te’o’s relationship with Kekua was “exclusively” an online relationship.
“This was an exclusively an online relationship,” he simply replied.
Photo courtesy of Izzy Lyman