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Te’o tells ESPN he wasn’t involved in creating hoax


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Te’o was told later that day Kekua had died.

ESPN did not play audio of the interview, relying instead on descriptions of Te’o and his statements from reporter Schaap. Audio clips were posted later. According to the reporter, Te’o was calm, and had no interest in going on camera.

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"He was very relieved, he told me at the end of it, to have had a chance to tell his story," Schaap said.

Te’o told ESPN the relationship with Kekua dated to his freshman year at Notre Dame, the 2009-10 season, and they met via Facebook.

Te’o also provided details of just how devilish the hoax was — how Kekua spoke to his mother about Mormonism, how he could hear a supposed ventilator when she was in her coma, even how she sought his checking account number so she could send him some money (he declined).

At the Notre Dame student union early Saturday, many people didn’t even seem to notice the story about Te’o playing out on television.

In the lounge section, six people watched ESPN as the report aired on TVs on opposite sides of the room and several said they weren’t satisfied with what they saw and heard.

Tony Stedge, a freshman from Seattle, said he supports Te’o, but he’d still like to hear from the star player.

"I think he should be able to do it in his own time, whenever he is comfortable," he said.

Te’o’s comments to ESPN though made it sound as if he is ready to put this all behind him — and Tuiasosopo.


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"I hope he learns," Te’o said. "I hope he understands what he’s done. I don’t wish an ill thing to somebody. I just hope he learns. I think embarrassment is big enough."

He added: "I’ll be OK. As long as my family’s OK, I’ll be fine."



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