Late last month, Al Jazeera sent shockwaves around the sports world claiming that Peyton Manning, among other profile athletes, were guilty of using performance enhancing drugs, specifically HGH (human growth hormone). In the report, it was claimed that Charlie Sly, an Indiana based pharmacist employed by the anti-aging clinic Guyer Institute, shipped the supplements to the Manning household under Peyton’s wife’s name. Sly was reportedly a member of a medical team that was working on helping Manning recover from neck surgery in 2011, which forced him to miss the entire season.
Naturally, Manning adamantly refuted the allegations, calling them “complete garbage” and “totally made up,” and is also considering filing a lawsuit. Amazingly, once Manning came forward and addressed the rumors as being complete fabrications, the story seemed to disappear. There seemed to be no skeptics, and the football world welcomed back their golden boy quarterback with open arms. I mean, there’s no way Peyton Manning would violate the integrity of the game of football, right?
The bottom line is we will never find out whether these allegations are true or not, just like many other unsolved mysteries in the sports world. However, isn’t it incredible how quickly this story was put to rest? Using PED’s is obviously a major violation, in any sport, and all it took was a brief statement from Manning to “confirm” that the allegations were false. While Manning’s track record over his 18 year NFL career is seemingly spotless, and the report is more than likely invalid, shouldn’t there have been a little more investigating and/or attention given to the claims? Is Peyton’s word more credible or above other players in the league?
As the NFL was filled with headlines from stories off the field in the past year, it is interesting to compare Manning’s case with other players. The Patriot’s organization also vehemently denied allegations of cheating towards their team last season when the NFL claimed they deflated a number of footballs prior to the AFC Championship game against the Colts. However, their word and statements were not even considered. What seemed like a minor, fabricated allegation at its inception turned into a nine-month ordeal that resulted in a million dollar fine, a loss of draft picks and a four game suspension for Tom Brady (eventually rescinded). All of this, despite shaky investigating and never formally being found guilty.
This isn’t an attack at Peyton Manning. Personally, I don’t believe he used HGH, nor do I care. However, the way the league responded to allegations surrounding him showcased their inconsistencies and nepotism, quite frankly. It leaves one to wonder, what qualifies as a serious issue that would prompt the NFL to take action? A fragmentary report surrounding football deflation resulted in nearly a yearlong investigation. A report involving HGH use by the league’s poster child was swept under the rug after a week. No investigation, no infractions, and a perfect reputation upheld.You could’ve at least humored us, NFL. One of your faulty investigations that would’ve eventually proved Peyton’s innocence would’ve sufficed. Your loyalties and partisanships are becoming alarmingly apparent