Te'o tells ESPN: Not involved in creating hoax

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Associated Press

Posted on January 19, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 19 at 1:35 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o (MAN'-ty TAY'-ow) is insisting he had no role in the bizarre hoax involving his "dead" girlfriend.

He told ESPN last night that he was duped by an acquaintance in California who confessed the prank to him two days ago.

Te'o says he never met his supposed girlfriend but had lied to his father about it, then found himself having to lie to everyone else.

After he was told she had died of leukemia in early September, Te'o admitted he misled the public about the nature of the "relationship" because he was uncomfortable saying it was purely an electronic romance.

Te'o told ESPN that he knew "it was crazy" to say he was with somebody that he hadn't met, so he tailored his stories to make people think he had met the woman before she died.

Te'o says he had attempted to speak to the woman via Skype and video calls, but found the picture blocked. Still, he says never caught that he was being fooled.

%@AP Links

APPHOTO NY165: In a photo provided by ESPN, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o pauses during an interview with ESPN on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. ESPN says Te'o maintains he was never involved in creating the dead girlfriend hoax. He said in the off-camera interview: "When they hear the facts they'll know. They'll know there is no way I could be a part of this." (AP Photo/ESPN Images, Ryan Jones) MANDATORY CREDIT (18 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO NY165 (01/18/13)>>

APPHOTO NY166: In a photo provided by ESPN, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o pauses during an interview with ESPN on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. ESPN says Te'o maintains he was never involved in creating the dead girlfriend hoax. He said in the off-camera interview: "When they hear the facts they'll know. They'll know there is no way I could be a part of this." (AP Photo/ESPN Images, Ryan Jones) MANDATORY CREDIT (18 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO NY166 (01/18/13)>>

APPHOTO NY167: In a photo provided by ESPN, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o pauses during an interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, right, on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. ESPN says Te'o maintains he was never involved in creating the dead girlfriend hoax. He said in the off-camera interview: "When they hear the facts they'll know. They'll know there is no way I could be a part of this." (AP Photo/ESPN Images, Ryan Jones) MANDATORY (18 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO NY167 (01/18/13)>>

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