Al Jazeera claims Peyton Manning's lawyers 'confirmed' doping
The allegations of doping against NFL great Peyton Manning haven taken a new twist.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, unsealed court papers in a defamation suit against Al Jazeera America — the now-defunct network that aired a documentary on athletes doping in 2015 — indicate that Manning’s lawyers “confirmed” the doping allegations.
In a statement to THR, a spokesperson for Manning’s attorney flatly rejected these claims as “absolutely false.”
It’s a complicated story that requires some background.
The defamation suit was brought against Al Jazeera America not by Manning, but by MLB star Ryan Zimmerman and retired slugger Ryan Howard. They claim the network defamed them in a 2015 documentary called, “The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers.”
The documentary featured an Indianapolis-area pharmacist, Charlie Sly, who was recorded suggesting that Manning was taking human growth hormones while he was with the Colts.
As ESPN reported in February 2016, “Sly was caught on a hidden camera saying that he provided banned substances to several professional athletes and strongly suggested that an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic where he used to work provided HGH to Manning.”
Manning denied the allegations, saying the clinic sent prescription drugs to his wife for undisclosed reasons. The NFL, which conducted its own investigation, cleared Manning of any wrongdoing, saying it found “no credible evidence” that he took banned substances.
Sly denied the allegations and the owner of the anti-aging institute, the Guyer Institute, said Sly was never an employee there.
Al Jazeera America, which went out of business in April 2016, unsuccessfully sought to dismiss the defamation lawsuit.
As a result, the case moved to discovery and some of the court papers shed some more light on the case with regard to Manning.
“According to memorandums from Al Jazeera, (Al Jazeera America reporter Deborah) Davies contacted Manning’s CAA agent Tom Condon before the documentary aired to get comment on something that Sly had been recorded saying. Specifically, Sly stated, ‘I did part of my training at the Guyer Institute which is like this anti-aging clinic in Indiana. (Peyton Manning) and his wife would come in after hours and get IVs and s—,'” THR reported.
“‘So one thing that Guyer does is he dispenses drugs out of his office, which physicians can do in the United States it’s just not very many of them do it. … And all the time we would be sending (wife) Ashley Manning drugs. Like growth hormone, all the time, everywhere, Florida. And it would never be under Peyton’s name, it would always be under her name. … We were sending it everywhere,'” Sly continued, per THR.
The piece goes on to say that in December 2015, Manning’s attorneys with the firm Gibson Dunn contacted Al Jazeera America’s outside legal counsel, David Wright Tremaine.
“In their communications with DWT, the Mannings’ lawyers confirmed much of what Sly had said,” unsealed court papers reportedly say.
In a statement to THR on June 1, a Manning spokesperson denied the allegations that the former NFL great’s attorney’s “confirmed” Sly’s story.
“Al Jazeera’s self-serving claim that Peyton Manning’s attorneys ‘confirmed’ Al Jazeera’s allegations about Peyton Manning is absolutely false. In fact, information was provided to Al Jazeera that confirmed the Al Jazeera allegations about Peyton Manning were unfounded. In addition, the sole source for Al Jazeera’s allegations has publicly recanted them,” the spokesperson said.
“Moreover, the NFL conducted an extensive investigation of the claims raised in Al Jazeera’s programs and found no evidence to support them. This is a desperate move by Al Jazeera to distract the courts from its own wrongdoing.”
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