Peyton Manning, Denver's quarterback, issued a statement on Saturday night saying that a report from Al Jazeera was "totally made up." The report links Manning to a doping ring and alleges that Manning received human growth hormone in 2011 while recovering from a series of neck surgeries.
Manning signed with the Denver Broncos in 2012 and won the NFL's MVP award in 2013.
"The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up. 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," Manning said in a personal statement that was released through the Broncos.
The alleged report connects Manning with a Texas pharmacist, Charlie Sly, who was linked to an anti-aging clinic in Indiana and also contains an undercover video of Sly telling a British hurdler of his so-called dealings with Manning. The report also contains a video of Sly recanting his statement about Manning.
Manning was interviewed by ESPN on Sunday morning. In the interview, he said he was "furious" and "disgusted" by the report.
ESPN's reporter, Lisa Salters, asked Manning if he had ever used HGH. Manning said, "Absolutely not," twice.
Manning did tell Lisa Salters that he had visited the Guyer Institute in Indianapolis to use a hyperbaric chamber and receive nutrients intravenously, but it was under the supervision of doctors.
"It stings me that this insinuates I cut corners," Manning said. "There are no shortcuts in the NFL. I've done it the long way, the hard way. It's defamation, and it ticks me off."
Manning said it "makes him sick" that his wife, Ashley, was mentioned in the story, too. Manning did not deny reports that his wife received medication from the clinic.
"It makes me sick that it brings Ashley into it, her medical history, her medical privacy being violated," Manning said.
The Broncos issued a statement on Sunday morning in support of Manning.
"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," the statement read. "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 NFL league outlawed HGH in the collective bargaining agreement in 2011, but the NFL and NFL players could not agree on testing protocols until the 2014 season. No players have been tested positive.
"I'm not going to lose any sleep over this report, this slapstick's lies," Manning said. "Keep my head up above it, keep pressing on, trying to get healthy, trying to get back onto the field next week, practice with the team and go from there."
Manning has not been on the field for six weeks while dealing with a plantar fascia tear in his foot. Manning is not on the roster to play in Monday night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals, but the team is not addressing his status after this week.
Manning is one regular season win shy of breaking Brett Favre's record for the most wins by a starting quarterback, but Manning's future is questionable beyond this season because of his age, his foot, shoulder, and rib injuries.
The Al Jazeera report also claims that Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman received the drug from Sly. Howard plays for the Philadelphia Phillies and Zimmerman plays infield for the Washington Nationals.
William Burck, an attorney who represents both Howard and Zimmerman, issued the following statement on Sunday morning.
"It's inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman. The extraordinarily reckless claims made against our clients in this report are completely false and rely on a source who has already recanted his claims."[Image via Shutterstock]