Marathon phone-talker Manti Te’o made his big appearance with Katie Couric this afternoon in an attempt to clear up this whole fake, dead long-distance girlfriend mess he’s found himself in. First things first: When Couric wondered why Te’o wouldn’t want a woman he could see and touch, Te’o said Lennay Kekua “was Polynesian. She was a sophomore. I was a sophomore. … There was a lot of comfort in being able to talk to someone who knows my standards and I know her standards.”
“Are you gay?” Couric asked, slaying one of the massive proverbial elephants taking up space on her television set. “No,” Te’o responded. “Far from it. Faaar from it.” The audience chuckled, and the world was no closer to understanding how a college football star engaged in a months-long relationship with a man pretending to be a woman dying from leukemia.
Te’o did play Couric voice-mails from who he thought was Kekua — and sure sounds like a woman — but was actually alleged hoaxer Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, according to his lawyer. (Te’o said previously that Tuiasosopo was responsible for the hoax, along with another guy and a girl.) “It didn’t sound like a man,” Te’o told Couric. “It sounded like a woman. It’s incredible that he can make that noise.”
Couric asked why Te’o never went to see Kekua, especially after she was in a car accident, and he responded, weakly, “It was a conversation I didn’t want to have with my parents.”
“Either you’re the most naive person on the planet or this is the most incredible story,” sighed Couric when she got to the part where Kekua was diagnosed with cancer. “It goes on and on.”