By now, most of us know about the Manti Te’o story. The documentary centers around the 'catfishing' of Te’o, who, at the time, was a college football linebacker.
The linebacker sent a message to fans following the release of the documentary, thanking them for their support:
"I wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to everybody who has come through and has shown so much love to me and my family - for your messages, your comments - I'm trying to go through all of them and it's been so amazing to me to share the battles we're all facing."
"How the documentary has given us hope just to keep going. If there's anything I wanted from this it's just to give some of us hope who needed it. To tell some of those who needed it that they're loved."
It was revealed that the linebacker had lost his grandmother and girlfriend around the same time during his run at Notre Dame. He subsequently decided to dedicate the entire season to them. However, he was catfished in 2013 as it turned out his deceased girlfriend did not exist.
Te’o was humiliated in front of millions. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (now known as Naya Tuiasosopo) was the person he was actually talking to online. The now-transgender person catfished Manti into thinking he was a woman.
The linebacker was burdened with the task of performing at the college level, but also had to deal with the fact that he thought his then-girlfriend died of leukemia. He naturally went through extensive emotional trauma at the time with the addition of his grandmother's death.
Te’o documentary lifts the lid on the entire scandal
Back when the scandal happened, the world wasn't as technologically savvy. In today's world, catfishing happens regularly, but most people know not to pursue it.
In the linebacker's case, nearly 10 years ago, we didn't know much about the online world. That's where the linebacker got sucked in as he pursed an online relationship with someone who he thought was a woman, but was in fact a man.
The documentary lifts the lid on everything that happened, and it's unfathomable to imagine what the now 31-year-old went through. From thinking he had a girlfriend, to then thinking that she had passed away, only to find out it was all a hoax.
Thankfully, he's come out the other side and played eight seasons in the NFL, though he's currently a free agent.
Football aside, the linebacker is now happily married to Jovi Nicole Engbino and it looks as if he has put the whole incident behind him.