Admitting that he deceived his parents and the press about the nature of his relationship with Lennay Kekua, but denying any involvement in the hoax, Manti Te'o spoke with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap Friday night for more than two hours in an off-camera interview. (Most of what little we know about the interview with Te'o comes from a surreal interview Schaap did with SportsCenter early Saturday morning. We'll update as more emerges.)
Amazingly, Te'o claimed he wasn't "fully convinced" that Lennay Kekua did not exist until Wednesday, after we published our report on the hoax. This goes against a good deal of what Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a press conference Wednesday night. (Te'o's agents at CAA, not Notre Dame, negotiated the interview with Schaap.) Swarbrick said he shared the findings from the university's investigation of the hoax with Te'o's parents more than two weeks ago, on Jan. 5. Had they really not told their son the news? And had Notre Dame told Te'o nothing? It was, after all, per Notre Dame's official account, a Dec. 26 tip from Te'o himself that prompted the school to investigate Kekua. According to Swarbrick, Te'o had received a call on Dec. 6 from a living woman who had previously identified herself as Kekua, who, you will recall, he believed to be dead.