Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o made a highly anticipated national television appearance in an interview with ABC's Katie Couric, which was conducted on Wednesday but aired Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.
Te'o told his side of the story of the fake girlfriend hoax he was duped into, which began during his sophomore year of college. Naturally, the Twitterverse was abuzz with every word Te'o said.
This story has captivated the country for over a week with many bizarre twists and turns with every report that has come out. Just this morning, a report stated the hoax's mastermind, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, posed as alleged girlfriend Lennay Kekua and talked like a girl to dupe Te'o (h/t New York Daily News).
Te'o and his parents did their best to justify how he figured into this complex equation on the syndicated talk show Katie, and people had plenty to say about it.
ESPN's Rick Reilly's patience was tested within the first five minutes, after the broadcast rehashed the key details of the Te'o saga:
This Manti Te'o story is really turning into a drag.— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) January 24, 2013
Huffington Post's Jake Fischer noted the contradiction in Te'o's appearance, as he seemed in good spirits despite the embarrassing nature of the story:
Manti Te'o seems oddly happy to be sitting with Couric right now. He's basically smilng while saying his last name has been tarnished.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) January 24, 2013
HuffPost Sports' official Twitter page then documented what Tuiasosopo allegedly told Te'o as to why he orchestrated the hoax:
"He just explained he just wanted to help people. And that was his way of helping people." - Te'o on what Tuiasosopo said to him.— HuffPost Sports (@HuffPostSports) January 24, 2013
KSTP Breaking News' Twitter page pointed out that Te'o denied any involvement in the hoax with his direct knowledge:
Manti Te'o: I didn't have any involvement in creating the scam. The same day everyone else found out, I found out.— KSTP Breaking News (@KSTPbrk) January 24, 2013
Manti Te'o: For people feeling that they're misled, for that I'm sorry for. I wasn't as forthcoming about it, but I didn't lie.— KSTP Breaking News (@KSTPbrk) January 24, 2013
Waynnie Rashleigh noted that Te'o seemed innocent in the way he conducted himself during the interview:
Manti Te'o seems so honest & composed on Katie.— Waynnie Rashleigh (@waynnieG) January 24, 2013
Buzz Feed Sports highlighted an apparent contradiction in Te'o's account of the events:
Te'o: "I had only talked to Ronaiah twice." Aside from the 500 hours he talked to Ronaiah pretending to be Lennay Kekua...— BuzzFeed Sports (@BuzzFeedSports) January 24, 2013
HuffPost Media logged some harsh words Couric had for Te'o:
Katie Couric: 'either you're the most naive person on the planet or this is the saddest story ever written.'— HuffPost Media (@HuffPostMedia) January 24, 2013
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport provided some comic relief for this bizarre situation:
Young reporters don't understand how hard covering sports can be. This week, I've had to learn where to find Oprah AND Katie Couric on TV!— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 24, 2013
ESPN's Darren Rovell noted an obvious statement made by Te'o:
Te'o tells Katie Couric that the fact that he didn't meet Lennay Kekua should have been a "red flag."— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) January 24, 2013
KSTP Breaking News logged the alleged voicemails from who Te’o thought was Kekua:
Voice messages are being played of "Lennay" during the interview of Manti Te'o on Katie— KSTP Breaking News (@KSTPbrk) January 24, 2013
Manti's father said he is proud of his son and he is not a liar. "He is a 21 year old kid trying to be a man."— KSTP Breaking News (@KSTPbrk) January 24, 2013
Manti: As long as my family is ok, I can live with whatever happens.— KSTP Breaking News (@KSTPbrk) January 24, 2013