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Manti Te'o Releases Statement on Alleged Girlfriend Hoax

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Manti Te'o Releases Statement on Alleged Girlfriend Hoax

Following a report from Deadspin on Wednesday afternoon, speculation is swirling about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and the allegations that his girlfriend did not pass away in September of 2012.

The report claims that Te'o's then-girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, is not deceased, and questions the validity of her existence.

The news comes as a complete shock to the college football world, as this dramatic story has been heavily publicized during Te'o's Heisman Trophy candidacy and Notre Dame's run into the BCS title game. 

Shortly after the Deadspin release, Te'o issued this statement about the controversial situation (courtesy of ESPN.com):

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.

It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life.

I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been.

In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was.

Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft.

If you haven't already seen it, the University of Notre Dame has also released a statement on Facebook, pledging its full support for Te'o during this scandal.

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