For the first time since the hoax scandal broke, Manti Te’o has gone on record as to what really went down on his end when it comes to Lennay Kekua’s existence. Te’o sat down with ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap to let the world know that he had nothing at all to do with Lennay Kekua outside of falling in love with her via the internet.
“I wasn’t faking it,” Te’o said to Schaap in a top secret interview that only ESPN was apart of. “I wasn’t part of this.”
The interview was suppose to be this earth shattering clarification from Te’o, in which he denied his involvement but also gave the world his side of the story. But we literally learned nothing we didn’t already know or assume about the whole scandal.
“When (people) hear the facts, they’ll know,” he said. “They’ll know that there is no way that I could be part of this.”
Schaap appeared on SportsCenter to tell the world what Manti Te’o had told him about the hoax. Schaap said that Te’o had vehemently denied being involved in the hoax, however contrary to reports that say Te’o met Kekua on Twitter, Schaap says Te’o told him the duo met through Facebook during Te’o’s sophomore year.
“[Te'o] said [the relationship] got started on Facebook when he was a sophomore at Notre Dame,” Schaap said on SportsCenter. “He made a Facebook connection with someone reporting to be Lennay Kekua, and over the course of the next year there was occasional contact.”
Te’o also showed Schaap Facebook posts and messages from people that say they knew Lennay, but when Te’o tried to set up dates on Skype, the plans always fell through.
Schaap said that when Jack Swarbrick said in his press conference Wednesday that Manti Te’o found out about the hoax on December 6th, what he really meant was that was the date Te’o found out Kekua wasn’t dead — a revelation that apparently “utterly confused” the linebacker.
“He was told some story about how [Kekua's] been hiding from drug dealers,” Schaap said. “I know it sounds fantastical, but he sounded very convincing in the way that he laid this out.”
Te’o told Schaap that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo contacted him two days ago to tell him that he was indeed the one behind the hoax, and that Tuiasosopo apologized for everything he had done to him throughout the entire ordeal.
As to the reports that Te’o said he had met Kekua in person, the linebacker admitted he lied to his father about meeting her. Te’o told Schaap that his parents thought he was meeting Lennay one night and when she never showed up, he lied to his parents after the fact to avoid the issue with them. He also admitted to “misleading” the media regarding meeting Kekua in person, as he didn’t want to embarrass himself.
Schaap said they wanted to get Te’o on camera, but Manti refused citing the fact that he wanted a more “intimate” setting without “20 people in the room” while he talked.
Really, we learned nothing more than we already knew or thought we were going to hear from this top secret exclusive interview with Te’o. Manti told Schaap he hopes the buzz around the story goes away and that he can get on with his life, but as we all know this very much is not going anywhere anytime soon.