action:article | category:SPORTS22 | adString:SPORTS22 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » College Sports

January 19. 2013 8:28PM

Te'o says hoax affected play vs. Alabama

Manti Te'o broke his silence late Friday and denied any involvement in the dead girlfriend hoax that has consumed the former Notre Dame All-American for days, while saying the man behind the ruse called two days ago to apologize for it.

"I wasn't faking it," Te'o told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap in an off-camera interview on Friday night. "I wasn't part of this."

A 22-year-old named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo allegedly preyed upon Te'o in creating a bogus woman named Lennay Kekua who began an online- and telephone-only relationship with Te'o, Notre Dame's bellwether linebacker, only to die in September of leukemia and create a personal back story that propelled Te'o to national renown but ultimately crumbled this week.

Schaap reported after a two and a half hour interview with Te'o that the player wasn't completely sure Kekua did not exist until two days ago - when Tuiasosopo called Te'o to admit he was behind the hoax and apologize for it.

As for at least one glaring inconsistency - the story of how Te'o and Kekua met - the former Irish star admitted to a lie. The relationship, such as it was, began during Te'o's sophomore year at Notre Dame via Facebook, he told ESPN. He attempted to contact Kekua via Skype and Facetime but never saw a face on the other end, Te'o said.

And as for the story of meeting Kekua on the field at Stanford in 2009, a tale retold by his father in October, Te'o said: "I kind of tailored my stories to have people think that, yeah, he met her before she passed away."

ESPN reported Friday that Tuiasosopo called a friend from church in early December and admitted he duped Te'o, without the Notre Dame linebacker playing a part in the deception. Deadspin.com, which broke the girlfriend hoax story Wednesday, reported that Te'o might have played a role in the fraud.

Te'o denied that he used the situation to enhance his Heisman Trophy candidacy. He finished second in the voting to Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.

"When (people) hear the facts, they'll know," Te'o told ESPN. "They'll know that there is no way that I could be part of this."

Te'o did say the ordeal weighed on him during Notre Dame's 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS title game, in which he played arguably one of the worst games of his career.

"It affected me," Te'o said. "When you're stuck in a big game like that . . . people depend on you. You need to perform."


 NH Sports Angle more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

Goalie Danny Tirone to enroll at UNH for second semester after star's suspension for domestic violence

'Smoke' blows into New Hampshire with the law in his rear-view mirror

Man found unconscious at Winchester Speedpark Saturday

Too young to drive, but old enough for NHMS

Police examine speed, possible horseplay in golf cart fatality

Mass. man, 27, dies in golf cart accident at The Links at Outlook

Hanover's Sarah Groff competes in the women's triathlon final during the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hanover Olympian in spotlight at Las Vegas Super Sprint

FHL makes it official, team planned for Berlin will play in North Adams, Mass. instead

Can NH soccer star Charlie Davies make a comeback?

Inside NIKEs secret sports lab; born in Exeter, now located in Oregon.

Concord Monitor decries gender pay gap in professional tennis

FHL franchise slated for Berlin may go to North Adams, Mass. instead

Eagles' Kelly says he learned his offense by studying defense while at UNH

Former Concord area youth baseball coach sentenced to 30 more years in prison

Maine boxer Brandon Berry making Fight to Educate history

Hudson family, classmates working to keep Alvirne soccer standout Raul Stedile in U.S.

Israel unrest moves meet for NH swim star

Race date for Oxford 250 moved from July to Aug. 30 next year

NH's Groff a highlight for U.S. at ITU World Triathlon Series Grand Final

Maine fighters Lamour, Berry on New Hampshire boxing card

Q&A with Matt Bonner as he weighs free agency

Keene State mum on suspension of veteran track coach

Morgan Andrews speaks: Notre Dame star undeterred by U.S. U-20 World Cup snub

Mo'ne Davis, and why no one should laugh at the idea of a woman in Major League Baseball

Curt Schilling says smokeless tobacco caused oral cancer

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

    SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

    ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!