Manti Te'o's interview with Katie Couric is set to air this afternoon, and from the sound of it, Te'o has come prepared. The Notre Dame star, befallen by a fake-girlfriend scandal and trying to explain his side of a sordid tale under friendly confines (Couric and Te'o share a publicist) even as the man allegedly behind the hoax plays dumb (he was apparently the voice of fake phone calls), has given Couric's show three voicemails in advance of the broadcast. Here's one of the voicemails, which was purportedly left for Te'o after the non-existent Lennay Kekua finished one of her non-existent chemotherapy sessions for her non-existent bout with leukemia, which "she" was only diagnosed with after her non-existent car accident:
Earlier today, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's lawyer claimed that his client had disguised his voice the entire time Te'o was dating his faux girlfriend — and this voicemail is just a few seconds of the hours that Tuiasosopo spent posting on the phone.
The voicemails serve as just one more way that Te'o and his team have tried to seize back control of the story since it broke just over a week ago. When the bottom fell out on this bizarre tale, it was difficult for anyone to believe Te'o was really just a naive football player. Since then, and thanks to a few of Tuiasosopo's talkative friends who have come to the media touting alleged confessions from Tuiasosopo about the hoax, Te'o has looked more and more like the naive victim he promised he was. That Te'o and his team have handed off these very convincing voicemails — that sounds like a sad woman and not a creepy guy, right? — may suggest that his team, after playing ESPN for an off-camera interview, is actually hoping to clear his name with Couric today.