Manti Te'o and his parents will appear on "Katie," following his off-camera interview with ESPN in which he said, "I wasn't faking it. I wasn't part of this
Manti Te'o, the Notre Dame linebacker at the center of a "catfish" affair, has agreed to speak to Katie Couric in his first on-camera interview, set to air on Thursday on ABC's "Katie."
Te'o parents Brian and Ottilia Te'o will join their son in the Couric interview, speaking out for the first time since reports emerged that their son's longtime online girlfriend Lennay Kekua, reportedly dead, never existed.
The interview with Couric comes on the heels of an off-camera interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on Friday, in which Te'o denied being a part of the hoax. "I wasn't faking it. I wasn't part of this," Te'o said.
The football player admitted to Schaap that he tailored stories about meeting Kekua in person.
"That goes back to what I did with my dad," Te'o told Schaap during the 2 1/2-hour interview. "I knew that — 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. 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."
Te'o's father Brian recently admitted to being the second source to tell a local newspaper near the University of Notre Dame that his son had met the girl in person before.
Te'o said that "two guys and a girl" were behind the hoax. One of the men, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old California man, has been identified as the mastermind behind the months-long trick, allegedly pretending to be a woman named Kekua and carrying on an online relationship with Te'o. The other two have not been identified.
Peter Navy Tuiasosopo, the alleged perpetrator's uncle, told the Associated Press on Sunday that the family plans to meet this week to discuss how to make a public statement about the hoax.
"We want to do it right," Tuiasosopo said, without directly mentioning the incident or his nephew's involvement, but adding that the family had hired an attorney.
In an off-camera interview with ESPN on Friday, Te'o said he had received an apology from Tuiasosopo via a direct message on Twitter.
‘‘I hope he learns,’’ Te’o said of the man who allegedly hoodwinked him. ‘‘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."