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Te’o sheds more light

By Brian Hamilton

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:11 p.m. HST, Jan 25, 2013


CHICAGO >> During Manti Te’o’s first televised interview after the dead girlfriend hoax that is engulfing him, he listened to a voicemail from the person purported to be Lennay Kekua — a voice that was revealed Thursday to be that of the alleged hoaxer himself, a 22-year-old man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

“Doesn’t it sound like a girl?” Te’o asked Katie Couric. “It sounds like a girl.”

Consider it yet another of the mind-bending twists in the saga that has broadsided the former Notre Dame linebacker, whose sit-down with Couric was his first on-camera appearance since the story broke on Jan. 16.

On Dec. 6, the person portraying Kekua called Te’o, announcing that she had not, in fact, died on Sept. 12. Te’o, confused, still referred to a dead girlfriend in media appearances 48 hours later.

“Part of me was saying, if you say that she is alive, what would everybody think?” Te’o said. “What are you going to tell everybody who follows you, who you’ve inspired? What are you going to say?

“At that time, Dec. 8, as a 21-year-old, I wasn’t ready for that. The only one who knew was me. I did not know who to turn to, I did not know who to tell, I didn’t know who to trust. I was scared. That’s the truth. I was scared and I did not know what to do.”

Earlier in the interview, Te’o was asked about transcripts of interviews where he speaks about meeting Kekua — even though such a meeting obviously never occurred.

“For people feeling they’re misled, that I’m sorry for,” Te’o said. “I wasn’t as forthcoming about it, but I didn’t lie. I never was asked, ‘Did you see her in person?’ Through embarrassment and fear of what people may think, that I was committed to this person I didn’t meet, that scared me. To avoid any further conversation, I wasn’t as forthcoming as I should have been.”

As for the theory that the entire ordeal was an elaborate plan to mask Te’o’s sexuality, Couric delved directly into the subject, asking Te’o if he was gay.

“No,” Te’o said. “Far from it. Faaaar from that.”

Couric then asked Te’o why a successful, popular football player wouldn’t simply choose to date a girl on campus at Notre Dame.

“This Lennay person, there are so many similarities — she was Polynesian, she was Samoan, I’m Samoan,” Te’o said. “She loved her faith. I’m Mormon, she knew a lot about that. I found a lot of peace and a lot of comfort being able to talk to somebody and she knew my standards and my culture. She knew what was expected of me and I knew what was expected of her.”

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clum56 wrote:
Ok, let's just leave Manti Te'o along and let him get on with his possible future with the NFL. I guess the person that everythng should be focused finding Ronaiah Tuiasosopo who is responsible for this entire escapade.
on January 25,2013 | 03:29AM
allie wrote:
agree..if he would stop embarrassing Hawaii and himself, it would help. His story is a total bore
on January 25,2013 | 05:57AM
turbolink wrote:
So boring that you haven't missed a single episode, nor opprtunity to tell everyone how boring it is. Do you see any irony there?
on January 25,2013 | 12:05PM
Ripoff wrote:
get a life
on January 25,2013 | 12:39PM
joewilly wrote:
Enough already; he's a weird dude. With all the beautiful coeds running around the campus why does he subject himself to this? He can date any girl he wants. I don't get it. I was puzzled as to why he was acting all laid back and mellow. It would have been better for him in the publics eyes if he came out a little more agitated or upset. His father is a piece of work too. Why not demand a public apology and out this phony Tuiasosopo for what he did to your son. Manti is a 22 year old kid that is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. He may have gotten great grades in school, but in the game of life he gets an F. He's still young. I hope he learns from it.
on January 25,2013 | 07:21AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
Agree wholeheartedly! Leave the young man alone and let him get on with his life. How many who are so quick to judge him can say that they never told a lie or a fib to cover up an embarassment? How many of them WISH they had a son like him? Pau awreaddy!
on January 25,2013 | 07:21AM
lokela wrote:
I agree. Leave him alone. We all know what happened so let's move on. Case closed. Jeez. It's not like he shot or stole from someone. Just an innocent guy who got duped. He's not the first. Hope you have a great NFL career Manti.
on January 25,2013 | 05:14AM
OldDiver wrote:
Manti needs to stop doing these interviews which is prolonging this silly drama. Time to take yourself out of the national spotlight and get back to training.
on January 25,2013 | 05:31AM
serious wrote:
Interviews are $$$$$$$$. Katie won the bidding war!
on January 25,2013 | 05:38AM
Wazdat wrote:
He did not get a DIME..
on January 25,2013 | 07:44AM
puamamane wrote:
Katie is a condescending B.......
on January 25,2013 | 04:24PM
earlson wrote:
He needs to fire his agent or PR person. They are giving him bad advice on handling this. Katie Couric interview was terrible. Probably cost Manti a few more spots in the draft and knocked him down a notch as far as what most people think about him. He needs to just stop talking about it.
on January 25,2013 | 07:03AM
from_da_cheapseats wrote:
Can't blame the PR person when the whole story is so obviously odd, so flawed and funny. He asked for this: look at me, me, me. And the media, who now turned on him, but who despirately so wants it, needs it, profits from it, ran with it. I'd blame them, but we the public are to blame - we'd much rather hear this than about how China is building up their military, or oil reserves are running out.
on January 25,2013 | 07:09AM
OldDiver wrote:
Have to agree with earlson. Katie made Manti look like a fool or someone who is a bit slow in thought. He needs to drop these interviews cause they ain't doing him any good.
on January 25,2013 | 08:02AM
Wazdat wrote:
I fully support Manti, BUT he needs to STOP listening to his PR people. DON'T do anymore interviews and FOCUS on NFL and getting your degree.
on January 25,2013 | 07:43AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Some of you are right about how Manit Te'o should stop talking. But, it was because it was really none of our business on the level it was made out to be in the first place. But, I guess when your hometown newspaper does a banner headline story about how you HAVE to speak out, then you kinda might feel obligated to (especially because the 'ol readership numbers are going through the roof with this story). In that interview with Couric, I heard a lot of admissions to gullibility, arguable foolishness, confusion, pain and fear. And I heard those things come out AFTER Manti Te'o spoke his part. From the former Notre Dame player, I heard all of those things, too. But I also heard shame, embarrassment, youthfulness and a lot of "falling on the sword". That Family bared their souls, and opened up their laundry bags for no other reason except that WE, as a SOCIETY (supposedly civil and "exceptional") bullied them into it, by letting the media bully them into it. WE did that to satisfy the grotesque belief that it's any of our business, and even more grotesquely, because in our "exceptional" land, there are many who get off on seeing such pain in others - but only after the Honey Boo Boo show ends. But, in the end, I think the Te'os get the last laugh. They walk away with their dignity intact. WE don't. And judging by a few of the comments on this site, and many of the comments I've heard on the likes of KKEA 1420, we won't be able to for awhile.
on January 25,2013 | 08:53AM
ready2go wrote:
When are his friends being interviewed? Understand they're going to be with their stories on this scam. It'll be very interesting to know, what they know.
on January 25,2013 | 09:16AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Bottom line: How, why, did he ignore the pretty chicks at ND and instead, went for an electronic "girlfriend". And he's not bad looking. Mahu? Maybe. But very weird.
on January 25,2013 | 09:20AM
CriticalReader wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on January 25,2013 | 09:26AM
Anonymous wrote:
With that question of yours, Critical, you are very weird. (Not calling you a mahu).
on January 25,2013 | 09:55AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
For Manti Te'o to still say that he did not lie just makes it worse, period. He has not helped his cause by continuing to claim that he did not lie. Yes, he apologized for misleading people. But to say he did not lie but say that he is sorry is tantamount to saying, "I am sorry but I did not lie. I just deceived you, that's all." He was deceptive and he just come right out and say that he was being deceptive. As far as I am concerned he continued the deception to manipulate the media in order to get the votes needed to get the Heisman Trophy.
on January 25,2013 | 11:26AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I speak for myself when I say that I contribute to this forum only to share my personal opinions. And they are just that, opinions. This forum is for people to share their thoughts on the news of the day. Everyone has a right to their opinion. Speaking as a parent, I did not like what Manti Te'o did in using deception in what was obviously a ploy to garner sympathy votes for the Heisman Trophy. If you watch ESPN and other sports media outlets, many of the sports writers bought the story. The fact is, Manti Te'o came very close to wrongly winning the Heisman Trophy. Fortunately, he came up short. Many of us here were rooting for Te'o because we thought he was an outstanding young man that our children can look up to. Yes, star athletes are role models whether they like it or not. Children look up to them whether for good or bad. Many star athletes have taken that responsibility very well. Many have not. But this athlete is a homegrown athlete which many of Hawaii’s keikis looked up to. The issue here is honesty and integrity. Coming from a person that is affiliated with a Catholic school and possibly other religious influences, we hold him to higher standards whether for good or bad. When we found out that he was being deceptive and manipulated the Heisman Trophy voters we were outraged and for good reason. We expect more from our star athletes because we hold them to high esteem whether for good or bad. When I contribute my posts regarding Manti Te'o's deception I do so to share my opinion only. This forum is a sounding board for people, like myself, to give our two cents on the matter. I do not do so to say, "I am better than." I do so to share my thoughts on the news at hand. Nobody's perfect. I am not perfect. Neither is Manti Te’o. But at the end of the day we all shared our opinion on the news of the day. This post is in response to one comment that some of us are here to simply attack. Nothing could be further from the truth. Something that is lacking from subject at hand.
on January 25,2013 | 12:19PM
jussayin wrote:
I agree as I'm the same; just sharing my opinion and hopefully others don't get nasty about it should they disagree. As for Manti, it's a big deal because as you said we're talking about misleading the media and public to gain more recognition with the bonus of winning the heisman. You definitely know that Manti believes it's a big deal when he hired a superstar PR agent to coach him on this issue. I saw the interview and he had silly responses to several key questions. But as the below poster mentioned, getting pretty tired of this news. BTW, Armstrong got caught lying to Oprah. Ugh.
on January 25,2013 | 07:14PM
CriticalReader wrote:
nodaddy, the problem is that your entire argument about Te'o's sinisterness is that Te'o perpetuated something he knew to be false to garner Heisman votes. "using a deception that was obviously a ploy to garner sympathy votes of the Heisman Trophy." That reasoning has been baseless factually from the beginning. It only is accurate based on unsubstantiated speculation. From a timing perspective, based on the facts established, your conclusion simply can't be true. And he has said he believed, albeit naively, that the girl had died until AFTER all Heisman votes have been cast, and had questions about what the truth actually was until he got a call in 2013 with someone admitting a Hoax. Your reasoning just doesn't add up if one accepts the facts reported. It only holds up if you also assume facts that had not been reported, namely that Te'o knew it was a Hoax some time before the Heisman voting concluded (which was a week or over prior to the announcement on December 6. You have no basis except an unsubstantiated belief that he knew. He said he didn't. The facts tend to bear that out. The only other explanation for your conclusion is the proposition that he MUST be lying about what he knew because no one is that foolish or gullible. Really? You really think that such gullibility is that out of the question? Remember, this nation went to war in Iraq because our leaders either were fooled into thinking WMD existed, or knew it didn't. Either way, we were all fooled to the tune of trillions of $$$.
on January 25,2013 | 10:36PM
BigOpu wrote:
Aren't you guys tired of this yet! Nufff already...I guess I should read the article before commenting huh? Not!
on January 25,2013 | 02:55PM
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