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Was Manti Te’o Cheating On His Fake Dead Girlfriend?

Former teammates thought so.

Henny Ray Abrams / AP

According to a former teammate on the Notre Dame football team, Manti Te’o might have been doing the unthinkable: cheating on his on his fake girlfriend, Lennay Kekua. Or, cheating on his fake dead girlfriend. One or the other.

A former teammate of Te’o’s told ESPN’s Bob Holtzman that “players knew the woman wasn’t really his girlfriend even though Te’o played that up as his tragic story was being told.” Jackie Pepper wrote that another anonymous player said Teo’s teammates had thought he was lying since September, when the fake girlfriend supposedly died.

But also!: An English major at Notre Dame, Tyler Moorhead, wrote that Te’o was well known for having had other relationships with girls on campus. So, not only might he have been lying about his actual connection to Kekua, or “Kekua,” depending on how you’d like to consider a person who wasn’t even real — he might have been behaving in a way inconsistent with what he said as well.

Ergo: Te’o might have been cheating on his fake girlfriend — a woman who he says he never met in real life and so only loosely fits any conventional conception of what “girlfriend” means anyway. In that case, it would mean that he played up the angle of her being his girlfriend solely for attention and then couldn’t even be bothered to conduct his private life in such a way as to honor the story he was telling everyone in the country. You can quibble with ideas of how he should have behaved after Kekua “died,” considering that people are allowed to move on and etc. etc. — this isn’t The Parent Trap — but prior to the “death,” if he had relationships with girls on campus, then he did cheat on his fake girlfriend. Love is dead. Maybe.

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