NEW YORK (AP) - In a story Jan. 19 about the Manti Te’o-Lennay Kekua hoax, The Associated Press reported erroneously some of the details about the place where Te’o says he sent flowers after he was told by pranksters that his girlfriend had died. The home was in Carson, Calif., not Palmdale, and was once the home of the alleged mastermind of the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, not a family named Kekua. A family named Kekua does live down the street from the Tuiasosopos in Carson.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Te’o provides answers, but more may be asked
Te’o tries to move on with interview, but more questions may be asked of the Notre Dame star
AP College Football Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Manti Te’o tried to put one of the strangest sports stories in memory behind him, insisting he was the target of an elaborate online hoax in which he fell for a fake woman created by pranksters, then admitting his own lies made the bizarre ordeal worse.
Whether his off-camera interview with ESPN was enough to demonstrate that the Notre Dame star linebacker was a victim in the scheme instead of a participant is still an open question.
The most important judges of the All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist may be pro football teams. Te’o has finished his coursework at Notre Dame and is preparing for the NFL draft at an elite training facility in Florida, where the 2 1/2-hour interview was conducted late Friday night.
Among the highlights:
_ Te’o denied being in on the hoax. “No. Never,” he said. “I wasn’t faking it. I wasn’t part of this.”
_ Te’o provided a timeline and details of his relationship with Lennay Kekua, his virtual sweetheart, who went through an array of medical calamities before “dying” of Leukemia in September, just hours after Te’o got real news of his grandmother’s death.
_ He acknowledged that he lied to his father about meeting Kekua in person, then exacerbated the situation after her supposed death when he “tailored” his comments to reporters to make it sound as if their relationship was more than just phone calls and electronic messages.
“I even knew, that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn’t meet, and that alone _ people find out that this girl who died, I was so invested in, I didn’t meet her, as well,” Te’o said. “So I kind of tailored my stories to have people think that, yeah, he met her before she passed away, so that people wouldn’t think that I was some crazy dude.”