For a great many years, the Baltimore Orioles "allegedly" sabotaging their own lighting system to prolong Cal Ripken Jr.'s 2,632-game streak while Ripken was "reportedly" out trying to beat the crap out of Kevin Costner for sleeping with his wife has stood as the greatest hoax in sports' long, shady history. Thanks to Irish senior league soccer club Ballybrack F.C., however, ol' Cal is finally getting a run for his money.
On Friday night, Ballybrack officials, apparently desperate not to play their weekend fixture, informed the Leinster Senior League that their player Fernando LaFuente had died in a car accident on his way home from practice on Thursday evening. As it turns out, rumors of LaFuente's demise we're not only exaggerated, but entirely fabricated, but that didn't stop the entire Irish soccer community from buying it for a cool $19.99 (plus shipping and handling).
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When league officials went searching for hospital records/a body/funeral invites/the usual stuff that happens when someone dies, they quickly realized they'd been duped, responding with a strongly worded statement, which seems like a bit of an under-reaction to be honest. Somewhere, Manti Te'o has to be wondering how he nearly got run out of football for making up a girlfriend.
So how did LaFuente find out that his club had been playing out some Guinness-soaked version of Weekend at Bernie's with his name and likeness? Well, according to him he was playing video games at home when got the call warning him that he had become a celebrity. "They started sending me news articles," he told RTE Radio "and that's how I found I was dead."
Well, sort of.