By Dan Loumena
2:46 PM PST, January 20, 2013
Manti Te'o and his parents will make their first public appearance since the Lennay Kekua girlfriend hoax came to light Wednesday, when they appear on Katie Couric's daytime talk show on Thursday.
Te'o sat down for a face-to-face interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on Saturday but he declined to go on camera. Schaap has said Te'o, who claims the perpetrator of the hoax has apologized to him, seemed sincere and truthful.
To recap, the All-American linebacker from Notre Dame became a national sensation when he played a monster game the Saturday after his grandmother and girlfriend both died. But Kekua existed only online, the creation of a Southern California man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, according to multiple reports.
To make matters worse, Te'o continually talked about the passing of Kekua, who supposedly died of leukemia, and his grandmother as inspiration for his stellar play. He and his family talked about Te'o meeting her as well. The tale grew larger as the Irish marched through an unbeaten season before losing to Alabama on Jan. 7 in the BCS national championship game.
"Two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing," Te'o told Schaap, who asked for names. "I don't know. According to Ronaiah, Ronaiah's one."
Interestingly, Te'o informed Notre Dame officials in late December that he was the victim of a hoax after a person called him using Kekua's phone number. Te'o and the university sat on the information until Deadspin.com revealed Wednesday that there was no Kekua.
No information has been released on when Te'o and his parents, Brian and Ottilia, will sit down to record the interview for Couric's nationally syndicated show.
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