Kevin C. Cox
Manti Te'o says that he was fooled in the hoax that was revealed by Deadspin Wednesday.
During the season, Te'o was said to have had a very close relationship with a Stanford graduate who got into a car accident and later died of leukemia around the same time as his grandmother passed away. Wednesday, that girlfriend was revealed by Deadspin never to have existed.
The linebacker called the situation a "sick joke," and said that the entire experience was, "incredibly embarrassing to talk about." Here's the full text of his emotional statement:
"This is incredibly embarrassing to talk about, but over an extended period of time, I developed an emotional relationship with a woman I met online. We maintained what I thought to be an authentic relationship by communicating frequently online and on the phone, and I grew to care deeply about her. "To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating. "It further pains me that the grief I felt and the sympathies expressed to me at the time of my grandmother's death in September were in any way deepened by what I believed to be another significant loss in my life. "I am enormously grateful for the support of my family, friends and Notre Dame fans throughout this year. To think that I shared with them my happiness about my relationship and details that I thought to be true about her just makes me sick. I hope that people can understand how trying and confusing this whole experience has been. "In retrospect, I obviously should have been much more cautious. If anything good comes of this, I hope it is that others will be far more guarded when they engage with people online than I was. "Fortunately, I have many wonderful things in my life, and I'm looking forward to putting this painful experience behind me as I focus on preparing for the NFL Draft."
There was some speculation that Te'o was in on the hoax, but if his statement is to be believed, that's not the case.
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