Manti Te'o broke his silence on Friday, talking with Jeremy Schaap of ESPN. It was his first interview since Deadspin broke the story of his fake girlfriend.
Details have continued to surface surrounding Manti Te'o's supposed dead girlfriend, but Te'o remained silent. That is, until Friday night when he spoke to ESPN's Jeremy Schaap in an off-camera interview.
For more on the story, visit our Manti Te'o StorySteam
In the initial report there was some question as to whether Te'o was involved on the hoax or whether he was the victim of an elaborate lie. Additional reports have indicated that Te'o was indeed the victim of a hoax and that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was the person behind it. During his interview with Schaap, Te'o detailed the entire situation.
Te'o said he was not involved in creating the hoax, instead saying there was no way he could be part of the situation. The initial Deadspin report report cited a source who said there was an "80 percent" chance Te'o was involved in the hoax, but he told Schaap the complete story will show that isn't the case.
"When they hear the facts they'll know. They'll know there is no way I could be a part of this," Te'o said.
Te'o said he initially met Kekua through Facebook during his sophomore year at Notre Dame. While the two never met, he talked to friends of Kekua's online who verified her existence. He said he didn't completely believe that Kekua was fictional until Wednesday, when he received a phone call from Tuiasosopo, who admitted he was behind the hoax.
Conspiracy theorists hypothesized that Te'o was involved in the hoax, possibly in an effort to boost his Heisman Trophy candidacy. Te'o denied those claims and said he wasn't faking anything and didn't make any part of the story up to help his Heisman Trophy candidacy.
"I wasn't faking it," he said. "I wasn't part of this."
While Te'o said he was not involved, he did tell Schaap that he lied to his father about his relationship with Kekua, which led to his father telling reporters the two had previously met. Te'o also said he tried to speak via Skype and other video calling programs, but was never able to see Kekua on video.
In several interviews about Kekua's death, Te'o spoke as if he had met her in person. In the interview with ESPN, he said he tailored his story to suggest he had met her because he thought it would be embarrassing or sound odd if he told people the two hadn't met.
"I even knew that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn't meet," Teo said.