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.