Te'o said, "Two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing... I don't know (who they are). According to Ronaiah, Ronaiah's one." (ESPN)
ESPN's Jeremy Schaap interviewed Te'o for about 2 1/2 hours without any cameras. It was reported on ESPN’s Sportscenter around midnight Friday night and early Saturday morning. Here is how part of it went:
“There was one line in the Deadspin story... one of the sources said I’m 80 percent certain that Manti was in on this. For the record once again were you in any way a part of this.”
“Never. Not ever.”
“You did a lot of interviews. It was a big story during the season. One of the stories of the college football season. You described your relationship in a way that suggested you had met her. Explain.”
“That goes back to what I did with my dad. I knew that -- I even knew that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn’t meet, and that alone people find out that this girl who died I was so invested in, and I didn’t meet her as well. So I kind of tailored my stories to have people think that , yeah, he met her before she passed away.”
“What he is saying there is that he suggested to people who were interviewing him that he did in fact meet Lennay Kekua because he thought that the story would sound too weird. It would be too embarrassing to him if he admitted he never met her in person.”
“Well, he said it got started on Facebook when he was a sophomore at Notre Dame. He made some Facebook connection with someone purporting to be Lennay Kenua... ‘How you doing?’ ‘What’s going on?’ Phone conversations... he showed me documentation to verify this in the form of Facebook messages from other people. He contacted people who she had said also knew her and they verified. ‘Oh Yeah Lennay. You know I know about Lennay.’ And you know characterized her. These were apparently people that in some way or the other also duped.”
Deadspin also pointed out more inconsistencies in the ESPN interview:
"Te'o also told Schaap that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man we identified as being behind Lennay Kekua, apologized to him Wednesday via Twitter direct message... Schaap said he saw the messages, but we're still not sure how such an apology would have worked. Tuiasosopo deleted his Twitter account weeks ago, and direct messages on Twitter require the recipient to follow the sender. We checked the list of Twitter users Te'o follows on Tuesday and didn't see any sign of Ronaiah. It's possible Ronaiah used a new account to send an @-reply Te'o's way to apologize, but tweets including Te'o's Twitter name were coming at such a rapid pace Wednesday it's inconceivable that Te'o could have picked out a single apology from all the other tweets." (Deadspin)
One thing that would give definitive proof that Te’o was duped is his phone records, but I doubt that will come out. If he talked to whoever acted as Lennay every day and night for hours and hours, then surely there is documentation. He should also let his phone record be verified by a legitimate media source. I wouldn’t recommend ESPN though since they seem to not verify much nowadays. I know that I can retrieve my phone records and would be willing to in order to settle something this peculiar. It wouldn't hurt unless he was also lying about the phone calls.
Te'o said, “I slept on the phone with her every night. 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.” (ESPN)
What do you think about the hoax?
Te'o Speaks, Well Kind of