Ryan Zimmerman & Ryan Howard Remind Us About Those Steroid Allegations
Remember that whole report by Al Jazeera that accused Peyton Manning of using HGH that basically everyone in the media excused as garbage reporting that had no basis in fact or reality? Okay, well did you remember the other names that were mentioned in that report?
Neither did I, until Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard just reminded me by deciding to file some high-profile lawsuits that will undoubtedly draw more attention to these allegations than anything else had.
Washington Nationals first baseman Zimmerman and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Howard both filed lawsuit on Tuesday evening against Al Jazeera, who reported in a late-December documentary that the two were among several other professional athletes that allegedly received shipments of performance-enhancing drugs.
Zimmerman and Howard claim that the report on doping among American athletes, entitled "The Dark Side," contained false statements and was based on unsubstantiated and reckless statements that were eventually recanted. Howard released a statement through his reps that highlights his frustration over the allegations.
"Today I authorized my attorneys to file suit against Al Jazeera and its reporters. Their irresponsible reporting forced me to take this action to protect my name and to fight back against the spreading of these lies. I will have no further comment, as the filing itself contains all I need to say."
In a similar statement released Tuesday night, Zimmerman echoed Howard's sentiments.
"I felt it was necessary to file this suit to restore my reputation and to hold Al Jazeera accountable for its actions."
The total damages being sought by the Ryans will be determined at a trial, but both lawsuits state that the financial impact of the report on the players will be significant. Like, professional athlete-level significant.
"As a consequence, Mr. Zimmerman has suffered reputational harm that has affected and will continue to affect him in his main profession—as a professional baseball player—as well as in future sponsorship and other business opportunities and in charitable pursuits. The financial impact of this harm on Mr. Zimmerman ultimately will be in the millions of dollars."
The verbiage in Howard's lawsuit is almsot exactly the same, except for one key addition.
"Mr. Howard has suffered reputational harm that has affected and will continue to affect him both in his main profession—as a professional baseball player—as well as in future sponsorship and other business opportunities, possible induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and in charitable pursuits," reads Howard's lawsuit. "The financial impact of this harm on Mr. Howard ultimately will be in the millions of dollars."
How are you going to bring up the possibility of getting screwed out of the Hall of Fame IN THE LAWSUIT?! Are you trying to get the attention of the BBWAA nice and early so that you just never have a shot at all? Those people are brutal. If they sniff out even a hint of guilt they'll make sure you aren't allowed inside the village limits of Cooperstown, let alone consider you eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Listen, is it possible that these allegations could affect future contract negotiations and their reputations within the baseball community? Sure. But engaging in a public battle against a vastly unsubstantiated news report about steroids is only further solidifying their association with steroids, which is exactly what they are trying to avoid.
This isn't exactly the Mitchell Report. Peyton Manning called it stupid, said he wasn't dealing with it, shrugged it off and strutted his oversized noggin back on the field less than two weeks later. And he's easily the most likely of any of them to have used PEDs. Manning handled it perfectly by cutting the story off at the knees.
The Ryans may have done more harm than good to their brands, and their baseball reputations, by making their connection to steroids an official issue rather than just a rumor that a creepy former pharmacist already retracted.
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