We already knew that Manti Te’o lied to the public about his relationship with Lennay Kekua. After receiving a phone call from his undead fake girlfriend on December 6th, Te’o spoke publicly about Kekua as if she existed to maintain the narrative. He revealed as such in his off-camera interview with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, and the facts confirm the admission.
Tomorrow, Katie Couric’s on-camera interview with Te’o and his parents will air, and it is the first time he will have spoken in front of a camera since Deadspin broke the story. In a partial release of what’s to come, ABC has teased the interview with the following segment, which includes this quote:
“‘You stuck to the script. And you knew that something was amiss, Manti,’ Couric said.
Te’o found out that Kekua was a hoax on Dec. 6, but on Dec. 8 he again publicly mentioned his girlfriend. The remark came as Te’o was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, the award for the best college football player in the country. Te’o was eventually a runner-up for the trophy.
‘Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12,’ Te’o said.
‘Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?’ Te’o said.”
Though the admission of an outright lie is technically new, we already knew Te’o “catered” the story to keep up appearances. But, as Te’o says, he did face a difficult situation if he truly was 100% duped – face public shame, or at least piece together some facts before publicly admitting your naivete.
How much more we’ll learn remains to be seen – especially since Couric isn’t exactly a hard-hitting interviewer. But at the very least, we should gets some facts straightened out.
You can watch the clip of the interview that contains the above exchange below: