BRADENTON, Fla. (www.incnow.tv) - Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o denies being part of a hoax that dispelled the existence of a girlfriend thought to have died during the college football season.
Te'o, training for the NFL combine in Florida, spoke publicly about the strange saga for the first time Friday night in a 2 1/2-hour interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap.
(To read Schaap's story on ESPN.com, click here.)
Te'o says he was not fully convince that Lennay Kekua did not exist until Ronaiah Tuiasosopo called Te'o Wednesday night to apologize for the hoax, according to the report.
Deadspin first reported that Tuiasosopo masterminded the hoax.
(To read Deadspin's report, click here.)
Te'o tells Schaap that Tuiasosopo also sent Te'o a direct message on Twitter, saying Tuisasopo, one other man and one other women perpetrated the hoax. Te'o showed Schaap the Twitter exchange, the report says.
Te'o shared with Schaap a list of other details in the story: 1) Te'o lied to his father about meeting Kekua in person; 2) Te'o tried to video chat with Kekua several times, but Kekua never accepted the connection; 3) Kekua asked for Te'o's checking account number, but Te'o declined to give it out; and, 4) Kekua first contacted Te'o with a friend request on Facebook.
"My relationship with Lennay wasn't a four-year relationship," Te'o said. "I knew it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn't meet."
Te'o says he doesn't "wish any ill feelings" towards Tuiasosopo, and hopes Tuiasosopo has learned his lesson.
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