Manti Te'o denies being involved in girlfriend hoax1/19/2013
In his first interview since it was revealed his dead girlfriend was a fake, Manti Te'o told ESPN Friday he was not involved in creating the girlfriend hoax. "There is no way I could be a part of this," the Notre Dame linebacker said. "When they hear the facts they'll know. They'll know there is no way I could be a part of this." Throughout the season, the story of the death of Te'o's girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, from leukemia in September had been central to Teo's rising profile -- and the resurgence of Notre Dame football. Notre Dame said this week that the Heisman Trophy runner-up had told them in December that he had possibly fallen for a hoax, and he has been relentlessly mocked since.
Te'o told ESPN that while he never met Kekua in person, he tailored his stories to make it seem like he did, and even lied to his family about having met her. "I ... knew that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn't meet." He did try to Skype and Facetime with her but was unable to see her. He said the two were "inseparable" by phone following her involvement in a "car crash," spending hours each day talking to each other.
Notre Dame lost the BCS National Championship to Alabama by a wide margin earlier this month, and Te'o said that the hoax had affected his play. "When you're stuck in a big game like that people depend on you. You need to perform."
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