Originally posted on Awful Announcing  |  Last updated 1/17/13

An important pillar of Manti Te'o's story with regards to the hoax of the century is that he found out Lennay Kekua wasn't dead during ESPN's College Football Awards show.  Here's the quote from Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick's press conference Wednesday night that alludes to when Te'o first found out about what was happening. "On the morning of December 26th, very early morning, Manti called his coaches to inform them that, while he was in attendance at the ESPN awards show in Orlando, he received a phone call from a number he recognized as having been that he associated with Lennay Kekua. When he answered it, it was a person whose voice sounded like the same voice he had talked to, who told him that she was, in fact, not dead. Manti was very unnerved by that, as you might imagine. I will let him again talk about that and his reaction to it. But he maintained that secret vis a vis the members of the football family until he called the coaches on the morning of the 26th. They promptly reached out to me to inform me of this shocking piece of news, and I arranged to meet Manti upon his return to campus and did so on the afternoon of the 27th." That awards show in Orlando took place December 6th.  Two days later, Te'o was in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation, also televised on ESPN, on December 8th.  That night, Te'o was interviewed on stage during the hour long show by Chris Fowler.  In a transcript from that Heisman interview, it reveals Te'o voluntarily talking about his girlfriend passing away after he supposedly found out about the hoax. Chris Fowler: There were a lot of cameras around you this year, there was so much public sharing of very private moments, which shared moment will you never forget above the others? Manti Te'o: I think I’ll never forget the time when I found out that, you know, my girlfriend passed away and the first person to run to my aid was my defensive coordinator, Coach [Bob] Diaco, and you know he said something very profound to me, he said ‘this is where your faith is tested.’ Right after that, I ran into the players’ lounge and I got on the phone with my parents – and I opened my eyes and my head coach was sitting right there. And so, you know, there are a hundred-plus people on our team and the defensive coordinator and our head coach took time to just go get one [of those players]. You know I think that was the most meaningful to me. While not an earth shattering development, it shows Te'o willing to forward the story of his girlfriend's passing to a national television audience after he apparently discovered it wasn't true.  There's other evidence of Te'o answering reporters' questions about his girlfriend's death, but in generalities.  This quote from the Heisman ceremony is the first time I've seen Te'o address it specifically after December 6th. If Te'o was indeed called December 6th and informed of the hoax, if he was speaking with the person he believed to be Lennay Kekua for a period of time between December 6th and December 26th as has been told by Notre Dame, why would he go on television December 8th and voluntarily talk about how emotional it was finding out about his girlfriend's death?   Swarbrick says Te'o was "unnerved" by the phone call on December 6th.  And yet, he was still drawing attention to the story of Lennay Kekua on the night of the Heisman Trophy presentation December 8th in a live interview on ESPN.  It's just another inconsistency that must be addressed as the details of this hoax continue to unravel.

This article first appeared on Awful Announcing and was syndicated with permission.

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