In addition to Jeremy Schaap’s initial comments and reactions to the interview [which can be found here], he has expanded on those thoughts today and added some clarifications.Te’o explained why he did not attend Lennay’s funeral:
“Because Lennay’s funeral was the same day of the Michigan game. And because, before Lennay passed away, we had a conversation. She said tell me this, if anything happens, will you just send me white roses and say you’ll play. She said all I want is white roses…I sent them two dozen white roses, and my parents sent a [bouquet]…to their supposed house where Lennay stayed. 21503, Water Street, Carson, California.”
Te’o also told Schaap that the first time he met Ronaiah Tuiasosopo was when Te’o arranged to meet a young girl named “Pookah,” one of Lennay’s cousins. That meeting took place in Los Angeles, prior to the USC game. And according to Te’o, he and Tuiasosopo had only exchanged messages prior to that meeting.
Te’o also explained that he first became suspicious of the hoax when “Lennay” called him on December 6. At that point she told Te’o the pictures he had seen previously were fake and that her real name was Leah. In the following days, relatives of Lennay told Te’o that she had to fake her death to avoid drug dealers.
Te’o told Schaap that even after all this, he still wasn’t sure what was going on:
“I don’t know. I’m confused. I’m scared. I’m confused. I don’t know what’s going on…I’m thinking a lot of things; OK. So this could be a prank. She died and all these guys are trying to pull a prank on me, or is she still alive? What is going on?”
After the story broke on Deadspin.com, Teo says he exchanged Direct Messages via Twitter from people claiming to be relatives of Lennay. These are the messages Te’o showed to Schaap:
“I will start by telling you the whole truth and praying that one day you can forgive me…No words will justify my wrongdoing, but I pray and hope it brings you a sense of peace that surpasses understanding…You are an amazing person and though we are all imperfect you didn’t deserve the pain. I’ll be here. God bless.”
Te’o says he then had a “conversation” with Tuiasosopo on Wednesday in which he apologized to Te’o.
In all, the interview lasted more than two hours and approximately 300 questions were asked. According to Schaap, Te’o answered “every single one.”
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