Manti Mystery: ESPN vet weighs in on hoax | News
Bradenton, Florida - It's considerd the "Manti mystery."
What in the world happened here? The story is so bizarre, so bold, that everyone has more questions than answers. The circumstances are both sinister, and sexy at the same time.
Was Manti Te'o the patsy or the perpetrator? Was he the victim, or the one doing the victimizing?
College football's golden boy is now caught in an embarrassing and potentially career-damaging soap opera with accusations of a ficticious girlfriend, a young woman who allegedly died on the same day as his grandmother.
But, who is she? Where is she? Is she even real? This case is turning the world of sports upside down.
"There are a lot of questions unanswered, and that will not be answered until we hear from Manti Te'o himself," said veteran sports journalist Jeremy Schaap from ESPN.
No one knows this better than Schaap, covering sports at the network for nearly two decades. The longtime, well-known reporter was in Bradenton Thursday at the famed IMG Academy to cover the scandal.
"This has got to be a very difficult time for him, but he's had a lot of time to prepare a response since at least December 6- if we believe notre dame's timeline, he's been aware this was a hoax," Schaap told 10 News.
Originally, Schaap got the "ungettable get" - the story everyone wanted - an interview with Manti Te'o scheduled for today.
However, after the press conference at Notre Dame Wednesday night, Te'o's people cancelled.
Schaap smiled, "We never truly count on the interview until the person is sitting in the chair."
Now, it's a waiting game. Both the press and the public want answers. The burning question remains - who is Lennay Kekua?
Schaap remarked, "You know it's not only who did the duping, but was he the patsy here or the perpetrator? It could be somewhere in between. He might have been duped initially, and then he felt as though he got in too far over his head to take back the lies."
Those following this sports saga have doubted Manti Te'o's tales about his now- mystery girlfriend. In fact, in a Sports Illustrated interview, the reporter asks a simple question, how did you meet?
His answer, most would say, was sketchy at best.
He said, "We met just, ummm, just she knew my cousin. And kind of saw me there so, just kind of regular."
Then, there's an even bigger question: Will this scandal hurt Manti Te'o's shot at fame and glory and millions of dollars?
Schaap shook his head and answered by saying, "I think that's unlikely. He's a guy with great talent and e sterling track record. Guys get a chance to play."
Meanwhile, the Notre Dame linebacker continues to work out at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.