Voice of Te'o prankster? Couric plays voicemails - New York News

Voice of Te'o prankster? Couric plays voicemails

Posted: Updated:

By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- The person Manti Te'o says was pretending to be his online girlfriend told the Notre Dame linebacker "I love you" in voicemails that were played during his interview with Katie Couric.
 
   Taped earlier this week and broadcast Thursday, the hour-long talk show featured three voicemails that Te'o claims were left for him last year. Te'o said they were from the person he believed to be Lennay Kekua, a woman he had fallen for online but never met face-to-face.
 
   After the first message was played, Te'o said: "It sounds like a girl, doesn't it?"
 
   "It does," Couric responded.
 
   The interview was the All-American's first on camera since his tale of inspired play after the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend on the same day in September unraveled as a bizarre hoax in an expose by Deadspin.com on Jan. 16.
 
   Te'o's parents appeared with him for part of the interview and backed up his claim that he wasn't involved in the fabrication, saying they, too, had spoken on the phone with a person they believed to be Kekua.
 
   Couric addressed speculation that the tale was concocted by Te'o as a way to cover up his sexual orientation. Asked if he were gay, Te'o said "no" with a laugh. "Far from it. Faaaar from that."
 
   He also said he was "scared" and "didn't know what to do" after receiving a call on Dec. 6 -- two days before the Heisman Trophy presentation -- from a person who claimed to be his "dead" girlfriend.
 
   The first voicemail, he said, was from what was supposed to be Kekua's first day of chemotherapy for leukemia.
 
   "Hi, I am just letting you know I got here and I'm getting ready for my first session and, um, just want to call you to keep you posted. I miss you. I love you. Bye," the person said.
 
   In the second voicemail, the person was apparently upset by someone else answering Te'o's phone.
 
   The third voicemail was left on Sept. 11, Te'o says, the day he believed Kekua was released from the hospital and the day before she "died."
 
   "Hey babe, I'm just calling to say goodnight," the person on the voicemail said. "I love you. I know that you're probably doing homework or you're with the boys. ... But I just wanted to say I love you and goodnight and I'll be ok tonight. I'll do my best.  Um, yeah, so get your rest and I'll talk to you tomorrow.  I love you so much, hon. Sweet dreams."
 
   Couric suggested he person who left those messages might have been Ronaiah Tuisasosopo, a 22-year-old man from California, who Te'o said has apologized to him for pulling the hoax.
 
   "Do you think that could have been a man on the other end of the phone?" she asked.
 
   "Well, it didn't sound like a man," Te'o said. "It sounded like a woman. If he somehow made that voice, that's incredible. That's an incredible talent to do that.  Especially every single day."
 
   Tuiasosopo has not spoken publicly since news of the hoax broke. The Associated Press has learned that a home in California where Te'o sent flowers to the Kekua family was once a residence of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and has been in his family for decades.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share Your Sports Photos & Video

Submit Your Sports Photos
  • Notre Dame Fighting IrishMore>>

  • Notre Dame pulls away, beats Arizona State 84-67

    Notre Dame pulls away, beats Arizona State 84-67

    Monday, March 24 2014 11:12 PM EDT2014-03-25 03:12:38 GMT
    Natalie Achonwa had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and top-seeded Notre Dame pulled away in the second half for an 84-67 victory over ninth-seeded Arizona State on Monday night.
    Natalie Achonwa had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and top-seeded Notre Dame pulled away in the second half for an 84-67 victory over ninth-seeded Arizona State on Monday night.
  • Patterson leads Pitt to 85-81 OT win over Irish

    Patterson leads Pitt to 85-81 OT win over Irish

    Saturday, March 1 2014 10:23 PM EST2014-03-02 03:23:23 GMT
    Pittsburgh overcame making one basket in the final six minutes of regulation to beat Notre Dame 85-81 in overtime.
    Pittsburgh overcame making one basket in the final six minutes of regulation to beat Notre Dame 85-81 in overtime.
  • McAdoo leads UNC to 73-62 victory over Irish

    McAdoo leads UNC to 73-62 victory over Irish

    Saturday, February 8 2014 11:01 PM EST2014-02-09 04:01:31 GMT
    James Michael McAdoo scored 18 points, Marcus Paige added 16 and North Carolina dominated inside after a slow start to defeat Notre Dame 73-62 Saturday for the fifth straight victory for the Tar Heels.
    James Michael McAdoo scored 18 points, Marcus Paige added 16 and North Carolina dominated inside after a slow start to defeat Notre Dame 73-62 Saturday for the fifth straight victory for the Tar Heels.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Belgian artist Baloji kicks off tour in New York

    Belgian artist Baloji kicks off tour in New York

    Thursday, April 17 2014 7:35 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:35:06 GMT
    To say the 6 feet 5 inch Baloji has a presence would be an understatement. The Belgian artist commands the stage with his mix of hip hop, funk, and rap. The 34-year-old rocked out Webster Hall back in January. Now he's back in New York City kicking off a month-long tour. "It's one of the most inspiring cities on Earth so it's always great to be here," Baloji says.
    To say the 6 feet 5 inch Baloji has a presence would be an understatement. The Belgian artist commands the stage with his mix of hip hop, funk, and rap. The 34-year-old rocked out Webster Hall back in January. Now he's back in New York City kicking off a month-long tour. "It's one of the most inspiring cities on Earth so it's always great to be here," Baloji says.
  • First look at electric carriage that may replace horse buggies

    First look at electric carriage that may replace horse buggies

    Thursday, April 17 2014 7:11 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:11:02 GMT
    New York has never known a Central Park without that rhythmic click-clacking. But if Mayor Bill de Blasio gets his way, he'll put those hooves out to pasture, replacing them with a different noise-maker. Actually, excluding its horn the electric carriage makes little noise at all. It runs on lithium-ion batteries, has a variable-speed a/c motor, and is relatively silent, says Jason Wenig.
    New York has never known a Central Park without that rhythmic click-clacking. But if Mayor Bill de Blasio gets his way, he'll put those hooves out to pasture, replacing them with a different noise-maker. Actually, excluding its horn the electric carriage makes little noise at all. It runs on lithium-ion batteries, has a variable-speed a/c motor, and is relatively silent, says Jason Wenig.
  • Ex-NBA player: Re-entry tougher than serving time

    Ex-NBA player: Re-entry tougher than serving time

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:50 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:50:46 GMT
    Jayson WilliamsJayson Williams
    Former NBA player Jayson Williams says trying to re-enter society after serving time for shooting a limousine driver was more difficult than being in prison.
    Former NBA player Jayson Williams says trying to re-enter society after serving time for shooting a limousine driver was more difficult than being in prison.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices