Manti Te’o told ESPN on Friday that he had “tailored” his stories–and lied to his father–about having met his “girlfriend” because he did not want people to think he was “some crazy dude.”
In his first interview since a Deadspin story on Wednesday revealed his girlfriend–who supposedly died of leukemia–never existed, Te’o said he was set–and excited–to meet “Lennay Kekua” in Hawaii but she never showed up one summer. When his father asked if they had met, he allegedly told his father that he had a good time.
Te’o told ESPN that he did not know for sure until hours before the Deadspin story was published on Wednesday that “Lennay” did not exist. According to ESPN, Te’o said “Lennay” had called him on December 6th and told him that she needed to tell him something but it could wait until after the BCS title game.
Te’o told the network that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo sent him a direct message on Twitter and called him on Wednesday to apologize.