Te'o's side of the story cements Notre Dame students' support

Many Notre Dame students say Manti Te'o's interview with ESPN Friday night reaffirmed their belief the star athlete wasn't in on the girlfriend hoax.

Te'o spoke to ESPN's Jeremy Schaap for 2.5 hours, detailing his relationship with the non-existent Lennay Kakua.

Te'o says he was "never" in on the hoax, but did embellish the relationship to make it appear the two had met.

"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, and I didn't meet her as well," Te'o told ESPN. "So I kind of tailored my stories to have people think that, yeah, he met her before she passed away. So people wouldn't think that I was some crazy dude."

Te'o's interview was the talk of campus Saturday morning, when many students were first digesting the news.

Much of the Notre Dame community has supported Te'o since news broke of the scandal, and some say hearing his side of the story made them more confident he didn't play a role in the hoax.

"I think a lot of people were confused at the beginning because it's such a bizarre story, but once we heard the truth, I think everyone is on Manti's side," said Notre Dame student Mia Eppler.

Another Notre Dame student, Bridget Curran, says she understands why Manti would misrepresent his relationship with Kekua, because there's a certain stigma associated with online relationships.

She says she supports the star athlete and is happy he finally spoke out.

"I think students didn't want to believe he was in on the hoax and found it pretty unbelievable that he would be in on something like that," Curran said. "He never seemed to be the type of person that would do that. So, it's definitely good he came out and it gives people reason to believe he had nothing to do with it."

But, there are still some people who are skeptical the star didn't have a role in the elaborate hoax.

Many have suggested Te'o release phone records of his conversations with Kekua to prove he's innocent.

"There's so much information coming out and I don't think we'll know this full story soon, if we know the full story at all," said Notre Dame student Matthew Vincent. "But, it just seems kind of fishy that someone who's that prominent on campus and that prominent in the country would have to do something like this to get a girlfriend."

A full transcript of Te'o's interview with ESPN is available on their website.


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