ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap and Manti Te’o during Friday night’s interview. (Photo by Ryan Jones / ESPN Images)
On Friday night, in Bradenton, Fla., ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap conducted a thorough interview with Heisman Trophy Award runner-up, Manti Te’o, regarding the details of the recent revelation of the “girlfriend hoax.”
With more than 300 questions asked over a two-and-a-half hour interview, Schaap followed up the off-camera sit-down by poring over the 15,000-plus word transcript in the wee hours of Saturday, eventually power-napping in a makeshift bed.
“I was in one of those swivel chairs with my feet up on another one for about 25 minutes after my 6:45 Good Morning America “hit” [satellite appearance],” said Schaap, shortly after arriving back in the metropolitan New York area Saturday night.
Schaap spoke with Te’o at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, where the Notre Dame star is preparing himself for the upcoming NFL Draft Combine.
In this Front Row Q&A, Schaap provides more details and answers some lingering questions that have circulated in the hours since Te’o's first post-Deadspin story interview.
Schaap also spoke with Ed Sherman of the Sherman Report for a Q&A to address similar topics. ESPN.com also has several Te’o-related stories.
Since you got to Brandenton, what have your days been like?
It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind. We had the Lance Armstrong news. I was in Bristol late Wednesday night. The following morning, we got into Bradenton, I thought there was a possibility we were going to conduct Thursday night an interview with Manti Te’o. By the time I landed, I was told that was not a possibility. The interview was off, although I was always skeptical that was going to happen just because of the general difficulties that you have. Then the possibility arose that just something might happen on Friday [that Te'o would interview]. But I didn’t have 100 percent confirmation that we’d have the interview until I think it was after 3 o’clock on Friday.
When you got that information that you would have the interview, you’d already been working on questions by that point?
Oh yeah, I’d been working on questions, a team had been working on questions in Bristol, the producers I was working with were working on question lists, the producer I came down with, Willie Weinbaum, was working on a question list. Oh, and there was also the Mike & Mike show chipped in. Mike Greenberg and producer Liam Chapman had some suggestions. There was a lot of input about questions.
You get the preparation done. What are you thinking on your way over?
I’m really trying to master the topic the best I can in my head, to make sure I understand everything that I need to understand. There are logistical issues as well. . . There were no [video] cameras in the room, but there was a still camera. . . . There was a lot of things going through your head, and it happened so suddenly, there wasn’t any time to get nervous. More than anything else, there was just this curiosity about what it was he was going to say. Often you go into this big “get” but there’s not a big mystery in the center of it. There was in this case. Like everyone else, I wanted to know what he was going to say, how he was going to respond to an aggressive line of questioning.
Is this the first time you’ve seen him [in person]?
Yes, this is the first time I’ve seen him [in person] in my life.
Why was the interview conducted at IMG Academy?
It’s a facility that issues invitations to top prospects to train and get all types of expert advice to prepare for the draft combine. It’s not exclusive to IMG clients. Manti Te’o is not an IMG client.
He’s represented by CAA. Many different agents send their potential draftees [to IMG]. Getting back to the interview, you knew you had no time limit. What was your strategy? continue reading…