A tearful Manti Te’o sat down for a big interview with Katie Couric to answer the remaining questions about his role in the “dead girlfriend” hoax story that’s riveted the nation since Deadspin’s initial report last Wednesday.
During the program, Te’o spoke at length about his experience being “catfished”, he released three voicemails he’d gotten from “Kekua” over the span of the relationship, and his parents joined the set to support their son.
Here’s what we learned:
- Te’o reiterated that he had nothing to do with the construction of the hoax.
- Te’o apologized to people about “misleading” them. He said that he wasn’t “as forthcoming” as he should have been due to fear of embarrassment and added that he was never asked if he’d seen her in person. Couric fired back, asking if we were “splitting hairs here”, but Te’o dodged the question a bit and said that the biggest lie he told was to his father.
- Te’o said that Tuiasosopo told him he thought he was “helping people” when he called to apologize.
- Katie asked Te’o if he was gay, to which he replied “No, far from it. Farrrrr from it.”
- Te’o said he didn’t attempt to visit Kekua in the hospital when they were both in San Diego because he didn’t want to miss his flight and thought his parents wouldn’t have understood.
- Te’o said that Tuiasosopo must have “incredible talent” if that was his voice on the other line the whole time.
- When Couric asked why, on December 8th at the Heisman Trophy ceremony, Te’o continued to speak about Kekua’s death, he responded that he thought to himself “If you say that she’s alive, what would everybody think?”
- Te’o’s father said “He’s not a liar. He’s a kid. He’s a 21-year old kid trying to be a man.”
- Te’o, when asked what he’d say to Tuiasosopo if he saw him, said “I’d just say you hurt me.”
While a few questions still remain, the next logical step in this storyline is for the public to hear from Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the alleged mastermind behind the hoax. Until then, we’ll assume Te’o is done giving interviews, and that this story can die down for at least a few days.