Al Jazeera Report Claims Peyton Manning Used HGH, Everyone’s Denying It
Finally, a Peyton Manning scandal! Sort of.
It was starting to look like fans were going to have to endure an entire regular NFL season without a star player accused of something heinous, until good old Al Jazeera dropped in on the American sports game out of nowhere. Before we really launch into this bizarre, juicy gift of sports gossip, here is a quick rundown of what we know so far:
According to a special report from the Al Jazeera Invesitgative Unit that was shared with the Huffington Post on Saturday, an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolus supplied Manning with human growth hormone, a performance enhancing substance that is banned in the NFL.
The documentary that Al Jazeera plans to air during their full report on Sunday night, entitled "The Dark Side, is the result of months of investigation by a British hurdler named Liam Collins, who apparently went undercover to expose the use of performance enhancing drugs by athletes in the United States. Collins gained access to medical professionals under the guise that he was trying for one more shot at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Featured in the report and video is a pharmacist named Charlie Sly, formerly of The Guyer Institute, who says that he mailed HGH and other drugs to Ashley Manning - Peyton's wife - to avoid the NFL star's name being attached to them. According to the Huffington Post, Sly also named Ryan Howard, James Harrison, Julius Peppers, Ryan Zimmerman, and Mike Tyson as athletes to whom he supplied drugs.
This report has been out for less than a day as this is written, but everyone involved is already denying everything. Obviously.
According to the Denver Post, Manning almost immediately issued a statement strongly denying the allegations.
"The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up," Manning said. "It never happened. Never. I really can't believe somebody would put something like this on the air. Whoever said this is making stuff up."
The Broncos issued a similarly defiant statement, expressing their support of Manning and disbelief of any of the claims in the report.
“Knowing Peyton Manning and everything he stands for, the Denver Broncos support him 100 percent. These are false claims made to Al Jazeera, and we don’t believe the report.
“Peyton is rightfully outraged by the allegations, which he emphatically denied to our organization and which have been publicly renounced by the source who initially provided them.
“Throughout his NFL career, particularly during his four seasons with the Broncos, Peyton has shown nothing but respect for the game. Our organization is confident Peyton does things the right way, and we do not find this story to be credible.”
The weirdest denial by far though was that of Sly himself. It's fairly obvious that he is reading cue cards of some sort, that feature a statement written by a lawyer - or at least someone that fancies themselves a lawyer. Sly seems to struggle with every aspect of delivering this nearly one-minute statement. Either he's terrible at reading, terrible at speaking words, or he doesn't believe a word that is coming out of his mouth so he's confused by everything he's saying. It's up in the air.
Well, when you put it that way...
According to ESPN, Sly also told Chris Mortensen that he isn't a pharmacist and wasn't at the Guyer Institute in 2011, as Al Jazeera claimed. ESPN looked into and found that state licensing records indicate that a Charles David Sly was licensed as a pharmacy intern in Indiana from April 2010 to May 2013, and that his license expired May 1, 2013.
There's also this mission statement from the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit on their website, which I happen to find hilarious:
How is your very first sentence going to flatly state that you do not report the news?! That's so bad that it circles all the way back to being wonderful.
I also love the paragraph where they refer to the fact that they've "won dozens of major journalism accolades." Nothing says credibility in breaking news like winning a bunch of film festival awards! The only thing this mission statement gets right is the use of the use of the word 'malfeasance.' That's a bad ass word.
If you care to see how this all went down and judge for yourself just how credible these facts seem, you can tune into Al Jazeera America at 9pm on Sunday night and/or watch the full documentary as well as Manning's interview with ESPN's Lisa Salters.
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