While the entire interview has yet to air, portions of Manti Te’o‘s “highly anticipated” sit-down with Katie Couric were broadcast on Good Morning America Wednesday.
In his first on-camera interview since the faux dead girlfriend hoax was revealed a week ago today, the former Notre Dame linebacker reiterated that he played no part in the elaborate scheme — a supposed online girlfriend named Lennay Kekua and her “death” in mid-September — although he once again allowed that he had briefly lied after initially discovering not only was Kekua not dead after a battle with leukemia, but that she didn’t even exist.
In the brief segment that was aired this morning, Te’o claimed he simply didn’t know which way to turn or which direction to go after finding out in early December that what he had known to be true was, in fact, not.
“Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12,” Te’o told Couric in the interview that will be broadcast on her syndicated talk show.
“Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?”
The Heisman Trophy ceremony was Dec. 8. Te’o was the runner-up in the voting to Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.
As the Associated Press notes, there are at least two instances of Te’o addressing the “death” of his “girlfriend” after he learned of the hoax — “in a Web interview on Dec. 8 and again in a newspaper interview published Dec. 10.” Te’o also sidestepped a question involving the supposed girlfriend in the days leading up to the BCS championship game against Alabama Jan. 7.
During a press conference the night Deadspin.com broke the story, ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick acknowledged that Te’o informed the university of the hoax Dec. 26, nearly three weeks after the player had learned that his relationship with Kekua had been a lie.
In an interview with NBC’s Today show Tuesday, Diane O’Meara, the public face of Te’o's girlfriend, stated that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo admitted to her that he was the perpetrator of the hoax and apologized to his former high school classmate. O’Meara also defiantly claimed that she in no way, shape or form knows Te’o, and had no knowledge of Tuiasosopo’s alleged scheme.