Te’o tells Katie Couric he lied to maintain hoax

NEW YORK – Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o told ABC News’ Katie Couric that he had lied to keep up a hoax involving a nonexistent dying girlfriend once he learned he had been duped two days before the Heisman Trophy winner was announced.

In a preview of the interview shown on Wednesday on “Good Morning America,” Te’o talked about the girlfriend, Lennay Kekua. He mourned her September 12 death from cancer, but it later turned out that she never existed except as part of an online fraud.

On December 6, two days before the prestigious college football trophy was awarded, Te’o said he had received a phone call from a woman claiming she was Kekua.

“Now I get a phone call on December 6, saying that she’s alive, and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later,” Te’o told Couric. “And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?”

A Heisman contender, Te’o was passed over for the award, which went to Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

“You stuck to the script,” Couric said. “And you knew that something was amiss, Manti.”

Te’o replied: “Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on September 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on September 12.”

The interview will be broadcast in its entirety on the daytime talk show “Katie” on Thursday.

This is Te’o's first on-camera interview since news broke of the fraud behind one the most widely recounted U.S. sports stories last year as Notre Dame made a drive toward the college football national championship game.

Couric interviewed Te’o, who in an interview with ESPN last week denied being in on the elaborate hoax, and his parents, Brian and Ottilia Te’o.

“Now many people writing about this are calling your son a liar,” Couric said. “They are saying he manipulated the truth, really for personal gain.”

Brian Te’o dismissed such statements. “People can speculate about what they think he is,” he said. “I’ve known him 21 years of his life. And he’s not a liar. He’s a kid.”

Notre Dame, one of the most powerful institutions in U.S. collegiate athletics, held a news conference within hours of the Deadspin.com article that exposed the hoax to say that Te’o had been duped.

(Writing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)


Read more :
  • Federer faces historic Wimbledon bid
    Roger Federer AFP PHOTO PARIS: Ten years after Roger Federer made his Grand Slam breakthrough at Wimbledon, the 17-time major winner returns to the All England Club next week as defending ...
  • Injured Tiger will not defend title at National
    Tiger Woods. AFP Photo BETHESDA, Maryland: World No. 1 Tiger Woods will not defend his title next week at the US PGA National because of a strained left elbow after doctors advised him to ...
  • Juanma’s dilemma
    It is safe to say that the devastating fourth round knockout loss Puerto Rican boxing superstar Juan Manuel (popularly known as “Juan­ma”) Lopez recently suffered against Ame­rican Miguel A...
  • Messi, Villa combine to sink Rayo Vallecano
    David Villa expressed his delight at returning to top form as he scored and set-up two goals for Lionel Messi as Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1 to restore their 13-point lead at the top ...
  • Baseball Hall of Famer and Cardinals legend Stan Musial dead at 92
    ST. LOUIS - Hall of Fame baseball player Stan Musial, who used an unorthodox batting style to become one of the sport's greatest hitters in 22 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, died on ...
  • Indian football team fails to qualify for AFC Challenge Cup
    India failed to qualify for the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup on Tuesday after they were pipped by Bangladesh and Turkemenistan for a spot in the the continent's second tier tournament meant for e...
  • Rio Ferdinand still has England future: Lampard
    Frank Lampard believes that Rio Ferdinand has not yet played his last game for England, despite the defender having withdrawn from the national squad this week. England manager Roy Hodgson...
  • Robin Soderling out for “a few months”
    Robin Soderling has revealed that he is nowhere near making a return to the tennis court. The former world number four has yet to feature this year because he is suffering from mononucleos...