He would later tell us that a close friend, but not his biological sister, had died before the game. His mourning was real. His story wasn't. Even though he didn't want me to write it, I believed the story was too good to ignore.
There's nothing ugly about the unraveling of Broussard's narrative. In the confusion and emotion of that day, he got trapped inside his own story and, rather than admit the truth, he tried to say as little as possible, hoping it would go away.
The fact his story was told was our fault, not his.
The Te'o hoax, however, is ugly on so many levels. He is the victim of the lies authored by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, but he and his university, Notre Dame, also are complicit in the hoax.
The great Notre Dame information machine didn't come forward with the truth even after it discovered the hoax on Dec. 26. And Te'o talked about the hard-to-comprehend love of his fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua at the Heisman Trophy presentation even though by then he knew he had been duped.
We still don't know the whole truth. But Notre Dame loved this story. After all, this is the school of The Gipper. What a great theme this was for Notre Dame in this season when it returned to glory. You talk about waking up the echoes. The Fighting Irish became the faking Irish.
Too bad the university couldn't have been as compassionate addressing the death of student Declan Sullivan, who was killed when the hydraulic scissor lift he was using to film the team's practice collapsed in heavy winds in 2010.
And it's a shame Notre Dame couldn't have shown more sympathy a few years ago for Lizzy Seeberg after she died from a drug overdose following a report she filed that said she was assaulted by a Notre Dame football player.
Te'o told his story over and over again. Notre Dame let him. But Broussard just wanted to be left alone.
For years, I thought Broussard owed me an apology. But now all these years later, I think I just might have to tell him I'm sorry for telling a story he absolutely didn't want told.