On Wednesday, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o issued a statement characterizing himself as the victim of a hoax involving a fictitious girlfriend who faked her own death. On Friday, Te’o submitted to an off-camera interview in the presence of his lawyer that, absent thorough questions or detailed observations regarding his credibility from ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, operates as a press release masquerading as an actual interrogation.
The initial story at ESPN.com is basic and short, and it offers no opportunity to scrutinize anything about what Te’o said.
“No. Never,” Te’o said regarding whether he was involved in the hoax.
“I wasn’t faking it ,” Te’o said. “I wasn’t part of this.”
He also denied any embellishment to boost his candidacy for the Heisman Trophy.
“When [people] hear the facts, they’ll know,” Te’o said. “They’ll know that there is no way that I could be part of this.”
Fine. So when are we going to hear the facts? And from whom are we going to hear them?
We have a lot of respect for Jeremy Schaap. And because of that immense respect for Schaap we’re more than a little surprised that he’d be a willing participant in a clumsy and grossly incomplete effort by the Te’o camp to honor Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick’s vow that Te’o would be speaking about the situation without Te’o having to actually say anything of substance or to address the many questions and inconsistencies arising from the various reports that have emerged to date.
It would be better if Te’o had said nothing. In reality, that’s what he has done.
UPDATE 12:30 a.m. ET: An updated version of the ESPN.com story notes that the interview lasted 2.5 hours. So why isn’t there more detail being offered in the initial story than self-serving denials with no specifics or details? Hopefully, the whole thing will be transcribed and published.