Wednesday afternoon Deadspin, the sports blog without access, favor, or discretion, shocked the world of sports with its investigative report on Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o, the celebrated linebacker who rode the emotional story of a dead grandmother and a dead girlfriend all the way to runner-up in the Heisman voting. It turns out the dead grandmother was real, but the dead girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, not so much.
Not only did Kekua not die, she never existed in the first place.
And nobody knew it, not until Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey of Deadspin told everyone about it.
Sports Illustrated put Manti Te’o on the over of its October 1, 2012 issue and ran a story telling the tale of Te’o's “loss”. The article opens with Te’o's relationship with Kekua. From the article:
Te’o had dated Lennay Kekua, 22, for nearly a year. She’d been hospitalized in California since an April 28 car accident left her on the brink of death. Two months after the accident, as she began to recover from her injuries, doctors discovered that she had leukemia and sent her to a new hospital with another daunting health issue.
How can the above paragraph be printed in a major publication without fact checking any of the facts? Doesn’t Sports Illustrated have interns?