Manti Te’o has admitted to lying about the hoax surrounding the events of his fake girlfriend.
The first clips of his interview with Katie Couric, which will air on Thursday, have surfaced and he essentially reiterates what he told ESPN’s Jeremy Schapp in an off-camera interview last week, specifically that he believes his girlfriend, Lenny Kakua, had died due to cancer in September but was now confused following a December 6 phone call claiming she was alive.
When Couric insisted on the Notre Dame linebacker’s involvement or foreknowledge of the whole hoax, Te’o insisted, “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.”
The athlete’s father, also present at the interview, cried as he assured, “People can speculate about what they think he is. I've known him 21 years of his life. And he's not a liar. He's a kid.”
Diane O’Meara, the woman whose face was used as the Twitter account for Te’o “girlfriend,” has come out and said that she did not know her photograph was being used for such purposes. The man behind putting up her pictures, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, had used the excuse of needing her picture for supporting his cousin.
Te’o mentioned that he had explicity requested the picture while asking her to “hold a paper up with your initials, MSMK, which is her initials, the date and you throwing up the sign.” In the final photograph, it isn’t clear whether it is actually O’Meara doing that or it has been photoshopped.
For her part, O’Meara insists that she doesn’t know if the athlete is involved but has said, “If Manti is truly innocent, I empathize with him.”
Interestingly, Te’o is not the first athlete to be the victim of online scandals such as this; Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik once had just as confounding a dilemma on his hands and things went all the way to the altar ... er, nikaah ... that time. He actually married a woman he met online ... and the pictures were still fake.
Looking at that insanity, Te’o seems to have gotten off easily. But, after this, I really think people should reconsider virtual relationships.