Notre Dame Star “Catfish” Story Sweeping the Nation

January 17, 2013

Catfish: The TV Show. Photo credit: MTV

The inspirational story began back in September. Manti Te’o, a star linebacker for Notre Dame and a devout Mormon, received a phone call. He was told that his grandmother had passed away. A mere six hours later, Te’o received another call. His girlfriend had succumbed to leukemia. Later that day, Te’o led the Fighting Irish to a huge win. He then became a Sports Illustrated cover boy, and the Irish became the #1 team in the country.

But was Te’o putting us on? It was recently revealed that Te’o’s girlfriend never existed. In a statement through the university, Te’o said he was the victim of a prank. He met this woman, “Lennay Kekua” online, but they never met in person. Was Te’o part of the prank? Some people feel he was in on it to make his personal story more inspirational and help him in his Heisman trophy campaign. Or was he just “catfished”?

Catfish is the title of a 2010 independent film that follows the story of a man named Nev Schulman who met a woman, Megan, on Facebook and fell in love. They tried many times to meet in person, but something always happened, and Megan always backed out. Eventually, he goes to find her and realizes that Megan was not real. She was created by a woman named Angela Wesselman.

Inspired by his experience documented in the movie, Schulman created Catfish: The TV Show, an MTV reality series. Online love connections that don’t quite pan out in offline life happen more than we know. “My reaction is, quite frankly, no different from my reaction on the show. It doesn’t really change anything for me that this victim is a high-profile football player. I think it can and obviously does happen to anyone,” Schulman said of Te’o’s story.

Watch Catfish: The TV Show online on directv.com.