Manti Te'o tells ESPN never part of hoax - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Manti Te'o tells ESPN never part of hoax

Updated:
Photo from ESPN Photo from ESPN

Manti Te'o spoke to ESPN in an off camera interview Friday night.

Manti denied being involved in the hoax.  ESPN reports Te'o told them, "When [people] hear the facts, they'll know.  They'll know that there is no way that I could be part of this."

In the two-and-a-half-hour interview ESPN says Te'o admitted to lying to his father about meeting 'Lennay Kekua.' Te'o also told ESPN that he tried to speak with her over Skype and Facetime but only heard her voice and never saw her.

Jeremy Schaap, who conducted the interview, says Te'o told him Ronaiah Tuiasosopo admitted to Te'o that he had been behind Lennay the whole time. Schaap says Te'o told him that Tuiasosopo had apologized to him via messages on Twitter.

Schaap says Te'o was "remarkably composed and collected" and that he answered every question he was asked. Schaap says Te'o was "extremely convincing to my ears" and "explained himself well."

As for why the interview was off-camera, Schaap says Te'o wanted to do the interview "in a more intimate setting, without the lights, without 20 people in the room, he wanted to have the discussion in this fashion." Schaap believes "it probably made him more comfortable ultimately."

Speculation has run wild since a Deadspin.com story revealed Manti Te'o's girlfriend never existed.  Notre Dame insists Manti Te'o was the victim of "catfishing."

Even before Friday night's interview FOX28 talked to fans about what they want to hear from Manti Te'o.  The majority of people we spoke to said that Manti Te'o definitely needs to say something publicly.  Whether his off camera interview with ESPN is enough for them remains to be seen.

We will update you with new information as soon as it becomes available.

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