Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o has finally broken his silence.
Te’o spoke to ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap Friday night after the fake dead girlfriend hoax heard ’round the world broke on Wednesday.
During a 2½-hour interview, Te’o denied any involvement in the hoax and admitted to only lying about meeting Lennay Kekua “so that people wouldn’t think that I was some crazy dude.”
Te’o added that while he received another phone call from the person claiming to be Kekua on Dec. 6 after her supposed death, he still made mention of her in public because he didn’t know what to believe, including whether the entire thing was a hoax.
Te’o also said that he met Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the alleged person behind the hoax, and a girl when he was in town for the USC game on Nov. 24 because he thought he was meeting a cousin of Kekua’s.
He added that someone called him from the lobby of the Notre Dame team hotel before the BCS National Championship Game and said they were waiting for Kekua to meet up with them. They asked if she was with him. He hung up the phone, adding that it affect his play in the game vs. Alabama.
Lastly, Te’o said Tuiasosopo apologized on Wednesday over Twitter direct message (below, which Te’o showed to Schaap) and the two later spoke over the phone.
Needless to say, many people are still skeptical that Te’o is telling the truth. But it was at least a start to clearing his name from being involved in the hoax.