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Manti Te’o gives off-camera interview to Jeremy Schaap

Manti Te'o AP

Manti Te’o is in the process of giving his first interview since this week’s shocking news broke that the story of his girlfriend dying during his senior season at Notre Dame was a hoax. But it’s an interview that is likely to raise more questions than answers.

ESPN confirmed on Friday night that Te’o was sitting down with reporter Jeremy Schaap. That Schaap was chosen as the first interviewer Te’o would sit with is not surprising, as reports surfaced this week that Schaap and Te’o would be sitting down together.

But what is surprising is that ESPN also confirmed that Schaap and Te’o are having an off-camera interview. That is bizarre. ESPN is a TV network and Schaap is a TV interviewer. Obviously, ESPN would prefer to get his interview on camera, so that must have been a demand from Te’o and his camp. But why, if Te’o is simply an innocent victim of a hoax — as he and Notre Dame have insisted is the case — wouldn’t he want to face the cameras and tell the whole truth?

Even more surprising is that ESPN released a photo of Schaap sitting down with Te’o and Te’o’s attorney. If Te’o is simply an innocent victim of a hoax, why does he need to have an attorney present before he can answer any questions?

Also odd is that Te’o decided to do this on a Friday night: It’s right out of the damage control P.R. playbook to put out damaging information on a Friday evening and hope that the information will get lost in the weekend’s news. But, again: If Te’o is simply an innocent victim of a hoax, what damaging information is this interview going to uncover?

We simply don’t know, and until we hear what Schaap and Te’o talked about, we’ll have more questions than answers.

And with this bizarre story, it’s safe to say that even after we hear what Schaap and Te’o talked about, we’ll have more questions than answers.

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42 Responses to “Manti Te’o gives off-camera interview to Jeremy Schaap”
  1. blackandbluedivision says: Jan 18, 2013 10:41 PM

    Dude come on. You’re not helping yourself at all.

  2. blackandbluedivision says: Jan 18, 2013 10:43 PM

    Rumor has it, his girlfriend was too shy for the camera.

  3. jesse1834 says: Jan 18, 2013 10:43 PM

    Take that Oprah!!!

  4. woodreaux70119 says: Jan 18, 2013 10:44 PM

    what a dope

  5. lsuzilla says: Jan 18, 2013 10:44 PM

    Can’t wait to root against this over hyped kid next year. Alabama exposed this kid. He’s good against cupcakes, poor against NFL calibar running backs.

  6. bills4 says: Jan 18, 2013 10:45 PM

    Even OJ says he’s guilty!

  7. lionsplayoffs says: Jan 18, 2013 10:46 PM

    This guy really needs a better PR person. He’s doing almost everything wrong.

  8. kegowhisky says: Jan 18, 2013 10:47 PM

    Call me heartless, but I’m reaching the point of not really caring. If he has a vulnerability flaw and fell for a hoax, I’m sorry, but learn from it and move on with your life. If he set up the hoax himself, you have to ask why. The only answer I come up with is to get more sympathy to help win the Heisman. Guess what – Heisman winners have to perform at the the next higher level like everyone else. If he won and didn’t deserve it, he’d go down the tubes just like any of the other curse of the Heisman busts. But thanks to Johnny Football, we don’t have to worry about that.

  9. grendelg says: Jan 18, 2013 10:48 PM

    ESPN has built this guy up as the big story in college football this year so they’re willing to cover his ass and give him a softball off-camera interview.

  10. sadskinsfan89 says: Jan 18, 2013 10:49 PM

    Attorney? Wow this story just has every possible twist imaginable. I honestly cant believe this is happening. And a off camera interview is sooooo suspicious

  11. boltfaninfalconcountry says: Jan 18, 2013 10:49 PM

    My last pretend girlfriend was when I was 10. Com’on man!

  12. mungman69 says: Jan 18, 2013 10:51 PM

    The truth would be nice.

  13. nfllaborstrifesucks says: Jan 18, 2013 10:51 PM

    This gong show is about to go completely off the tracks…and deprive me of sleep.

  14. sb50 says: Jan 18, 2013 10:51 PM

    What Manti did was stupid, and I think almost everyone will agree with that. It probably was just for publicity, just for people to root for him and gain national recognition from sport fans and non-sport fans. However, I believe the media is unnecessarily blowing the whole thing up. Yeah it was a dumb thing to do and he probably shouldn’t of lied about it, but why does every single media site and newspaper have to act like this is the crime of the century?

  15. niners816 says: Jan 18, 2013 10:54 PM

    Catfished. Its kind of funny and sad. And Schaap is creepy.

  16. nfllaborstrifesucks says: Jan 18, 2013 10:55 PM

    Why didn’t they go with the courtroom sketch artist rather than the actual photos?

  17. pillowporkers says: Jan 18, 2013 10:59 PM

    When I first read this, I thought it was a pretty crazy story. Still think it is but I don’t really care about right now because I know it’s going to take about 2 months minimum before we get any resemblance of real facts. This thing is going to drag on forever. For now, I’m not going to waste my time reading on it, or posting on it again.

  18. nfllaborstrifesucks says: Jan 18, 2013 11:04 PM

    What’s the over/under on how many losers are going to get their 15 minutes of fame, courtesy of ESPN, as a result of this massive waste of time?

  19. eddardofthehousestark says: Jan 18, 2013 11:05 PM

    MDS, I must congratulate you. This was the first time I’ve ever read a PFT article and thought “This must have been written by Mike Florio,” only to scroll up and have been wrong. Clearly you’ve been taking legalese lessons with your boss.

  20. istateyourname says: Jan 18, 2013 11:15 PM

    A TV interview that really isn’t a TV interview about a person that really isn’t a person? He’s goooood. He’s still doing it! Stop it already!

  21. auburntigers34 says: Jan 18, 2013 11:15 PM

    the people that claim that Te’o was Catfished don’t seem to realize that they’ve been Catfished by Te’o.

  22. dadawg77 says: Jan 18, 2013 11:16 PM

    When any wrong step might cost you millions,.it makes sense to have a rep with you.

  23. superputman says: Jan 18, 2013 11:18 PM

    Publicity stunt gone wrong.. possibly a poor attempt to get on ‘Catfish’ and expand his national visibility.. or just to get him added attention from sports media. I mean, lets face it, investigative journalism has fallen apart.. the hacktivist group ‘Anonymous’ are the closest thing we have to investigative journalists now a days….

  24. windowace says: Jan 18, 2013 11:20 PM

    Makes sense to me. So many experts or so call experts will say look at how he crossed his legs that proves he is guilty .The way this world is you need legal help when speaking in public sad commentary of the system we live in. Ones have judged him already,Sad day for sports .

  25. djlexluger says: Jan 18, 2013 11:20 PM

    I don’t understand why the Grandmother dying angle wasnt good enough for him…

  26. pftfollower says: Jan 18, 2013 11:22 PM

    Way to take your character from a giant plus to a massive minus. From hardworking, stands up in the face of adversity, to crumbles when he’s no longer king.

    Bet his interviews at the combine will be tons of fun. You better run fast there dude

  27. cappa662 says: Jan 18, 2013 11:22 PM

    There’s nothing wrong with it, but does anyone else beside me think that Te’o is gay?

  28. ravensfan8780 says: Jan 18, 2013 11:22 PM

    I think Te’o was in out with his friend. they probably thought it would be an easy way to get publicly. Te’o probably never thought ND would have a perfect season and go to the BCS game so with every win ND had the story of his fake gf got bigger. Te’o and his friend had no idea how to stop this snowball of a story, now they’re scrambling so is ND because not only is this embarrassing but it’s really making light of death. I just don’t get why Te’o seemed more upset over a fake death then the death of his grandma. That’s the first question I’d ask him.

  29. ronlpitts says: Jan 18, 2013 11:23 PM

    Cant wait to see Te’o and his Girlfriend in the NFL Draft Green Room, I mean he said she is pretty hot…I mean not as hot as the fake girlfriend I had when I was 10…but still pretty hot, for a fake person.

  30. pftfollower says: Jan 18, 2013 11:24 PM

    Oh, and

    None of his friends knew her, he met her at summer camp, ok?!?!

  31. vdogg says: Jan 18, 2013 11:29 PM

    OH MY GOD TALK ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE!!!! He has atty with him probly cuz he’s getting prepared to save his draft status which could equate to millions of dollars! Not sure if anyone remembers but the conf championship games are on this weekend. How about a story about that!?!?

  32. gordo858 says: Jan 18, 2013 11:35 PM

    First Lance Armstrong and now T’eo….man, this is one helluva bad week for cancer….

  33. tbd3 says: Jan 18, 2013 11:36 PM

    Te’o told Pete Thamel from SI that he met Lennay through his cousin. So, if he is just a victim here, then his cousin had to be in on it too, right? Unless the person behind it first fooled Te’o’s cousin with the ulterior motive of eventually fooling Te’o, which seems just a tad unnecessary given how naive Te’o would have to be for his version of events to be true. Can a real journalist PLEASE interview this guy and ask some hard questions, press him for answers?

  34. jonesjack says: Jan 18, 2013 11:39 PM

    ” If Te’o is simply an innocent victim of a hoax, why does he need to have an attorney present before he can answer any questions?”
    My uninformed opinion is he’s a nutcase and many ways complicit in this. Right or wrong though, there’s nothing wrong with getting some representation when things get tight. You’d do the same thing if you were smart.

  35. sellout1983 says: Jan 18, 2013 11:40 PM

    It was supposed to be on camera, but the camera man died from cancer, and was also made up.

  36. Deb says: Jan 18, 2013 11:51 PM

    At least Jeremy Schaap is also a sportswriter–though not as gifted as his late father. Perhaps after sharing Te’o’s comments on air, he can write a more thoughtful piece on their interview.

  37. savojah says: Jan 19, 2013 12:00 AM

    Ok, so he said he spoke to this girl on her death bed? If this Rosinah or whatever his name conspired all of this, then who’s the chick he was talking to on the phone? So there’s two people who were interesting in duping this guy? Or he was lying about how they met, talked, and met the family just to not make seem really weird that he fell hard for someone by strictly chatting. Either way, he was complicit in making this story bigger than it needed to be.

  38. mazblast says: Jan 19, 2013 12:05 AM

    It’s not an “off-camera interview”, it’s a REHEARSAL. They’re establishing what questions will be asked, what answers will be given, camera angles, the whole nine yards. It’s carefully scripted and managed. Te’uh-oh is trying to save his own a**, his lawyer is trying to manage the message, Schaap is willing to lob softballs, ESPN is trying to be “FIRST!!!!” and not have to admit that it didn’t do its job right months ago. Notre Dame officials are probably in there, too, trying to make the university and especially its athletic department look innocent.

    In the words of my late father, “Such sh**.”

  39. crazyfootballfun says: Jan 19, 2013 12:08 AM

    Off camera and in the presence of your attorney. Yeah, that isn’t at all suspicious from a guy who gave interviews every time he turned around.

  40. jbaxt says: Jan 19, 2013 12:23 AM

    I remember when I last “met” my girlfriends family over a phone conversation. I think I was 12. We developed a special bond. Like when her dad told me to keep the conversation under 10 minutes. He was such a great man. And when her mom would get on the other phone and tell her it was time for bed. Oh the memories.

  41. jessethegreat says: Jan 19, 2013 12:45 AM

    Jeremy is a decent reporter/interviewer but i still miss his Dad, Dick Schaap. Grew up reading all of his books and watching every single Sunday morning The Sports Reporters. Still my all time favorite show!

  42. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 19, 2013 7:30 AM

    This guy has ravens written all over him…

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