The Lying Game: Manti Te’o Admits to ‘Sticking to the Script’ About Fake Girlfriend (VIDEO)

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In the midst of the nation’s continuing fascination with his bizarre saga, Manti Te’o is finally speaking out.

Making his first on-camera appearance since the scandal broke, the former Notre Dame linebacker revealed his side of the story to Katie Couric during an extensive interview on her talk show, Katie, set to air in its entirety on Thursday.

Viewers were given a sneak peek of Couric’s exclusive chat Wednesday on Good Morning America. In the preview, the football star admitted he briefly lied about his so-called deceased girlfriend Lennay Kekua after learning he had been part of a online dating hoax (aka catfishing).

“You stuck to the script. And you knew that something was amiss, Manti,” Couric asserted.

“Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12,” Te’o answered in his defense.

For those still scratching their heads over Te’o’s baffling story, here’s a recap: During the 2012 college football season, the 21-year-old became a mainstream media sensation following the harrowing deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend  (both died just hours apart) on Sept. 11, 2012.

Te’o’s devastating ordeal earned the sympathy of his fellow peers and strangers across the country, even grabbing the spotlight during the linebacker’s run for the Heisman Trophy. The problem at hand? While his grandmother actually did pass, Kekua never existed, according to a report released last Wednesday.

After the expose broke, Notre Dame officials stated that Te’o had been the victim of a “sad and very cruel deception.” That evening, ND’s athletic director, Jim Swarbrick, held a press conference stating his and the university’s support for the star athlete.

To add to the confusion, Te’o continued to speak out about Kekua up until the release of the report, even though he learned of the hoax in early December, raising suspicions about his exact involvement. Since then, the real person behind Kekua’s released photos, Diane O’Meara, has accused her friend Ronaiah Tuliasosopo (also a reported good pal of Te’o’s) of conspiring to create the puzzling prank.

As the story continues to unravel and make headlines, Te’o maintains his innocence and explains the reasoning of his actions throughout the controversy.

“Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going [to] be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?” he asked.

Watch the video to see a preview of Katie Couric’s interview with Manti Te’o.

Tell us: Do you believe Manti was involved in the hoax…or a victim? Sound off in the comments.

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