Manti Te’o sat down with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap yesterday to shed a little more light on the insane story of his imaginary girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, and to clear the air and explain how he was not in on the hoax, even if he was gullible enough to fall for it.
First, in case you haven’t gotten caught up on this insanity, do so immediately. Done? Okay, now, to understand why Te’o won’t let this thing die, get a taste of the public ridicule he’s currently experiencing. Okay, now we can begin.
In the interview, which was not videotaped, Te’o copped to lying to his father about having met Kekua, trying to speak with her via Skype and FaceTime multiple times and being unsuccessful, and trying to meet her several times only for her to cancel or send a friend at the last minute. Sounds like a loving relationship.
There was also this interesting incident from before the National Championship game wherein Kekua puppetmaster Ronaiah Tuiasosopo messed with Te’o’s head:
A group of people connected to Tuiasosopo showed up at the team hotel, after curfew, for the Discover BCS National Championship Game in Miami. Te’o said he knew they were at the hotel because the group took photos in the hotel lobby. Someone in the group called Te’o, saying they were waiting for Kekua to join them in the lobby and asking if she was with him. Te’o then hung up. Te’o said it affected his play in the game, where Notre Dame lost to Alabama 42-14.
Te’o took the time to clear up this important note as well:
“I’d never told anybody that I’ve touched her hand,” he said.
That really sums it all up, doesn’t it?
Here is Jeremy Schaap’s report on SportsCenter last night to get a more well-rounded picture about how pathetic this story has gotten, via ESPN:
Be sure to click through for even more pull-quotes from Te’o as he explains just how weird and unnatural his “relationship” was. I wish I could just post every insane thing he says here, but here’s one more to get you going.
In this quote, Te’o talks about how Kekua had just come out of a coma at this point in the soap opera and their relationship began to take on a new seriousness. Or something.
“Every day. I slept on the phone with her every night,” Te’o said. “… I’d be on the phone. And she had complications from the accident, and she said the only thing that could help her sleep was if I was on the phone. So I would be on the phone, and I’d have the phone on the whole night.”
Photo via Ryan Jones/ESPN Images