(NEW YORK) — Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o faces a problem bigger than any running back he’s had to bring down.
As the elaborate hoax about his dead “girlfriend” unravels, many questions remain to be answered, chief among them whether he was complicit in promoting the dramatic story of his girlfriend’s death from leukemia. Te’o may soon be forced to tackle those questions himself.
“A lot of people are very suspicious when Te’o says he had no idea and he was just a sucker in this,” Deadspin writer Timothy Burke said on ABC’s Good Morning America Thursday. “Why would somebody go to such great lengths to hoax him like that?”
Burke’s Deadspin story broke the scandal, forcing Te’o and Notre Dame to admit the girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, never existed. Notre Dame claims that Te’o is the victim of a “cruel hoax.”
“[Notre Dame is] sticking to his story and they’re going to, I think, fight and make every sort of attempt they can to prove he had no idea this was going on and that he was the unfortunate victim of a year-long prank,” Burke said.
But it won’t be easy.
“I think that there are some questions about when he became aware of it, simply because Notre Dame and Te’o’s statement have indicated that he found out about it in late December, but he chose not to correct or identify when he was asked before the BCS Championship game about his girlfriend,” Burke said.
The title game was played on Jan. 7.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Jill Martin, CNN
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire