Al Jazeera has released a documentary called, “The Dark Side: The Secret World of Sports Doping.” Working for Al Jazeera, an undercover hurdler named Liam Collins, under the guise of trying to qualify for the Rio Olympics doing “whatever it takes,” connected with several suppliers of illegal substances and covertly recorded all of their conversations. The bent of the investigation was how easy it was for athletes to obtain the drugs but what happened was athletes were named. Of the handful of baseball and football players named, the one that resonates the loudest is Peyton Manning – record-breaking quarterback formerly of the Indianapolis Colts and currently of the Denver Broncos, legacy to a football dynasty and a Golden Boy of the NFL.
Peyton, who had never missed a regular season game prior, famously sat out the 2011 season due to a neck injury that he sought to correct with 4 separate surgeries. A source, Charlie Sly, whom Al Jazeera calls “a doctor of pharmacy,” claims that during Peyton’s 2011 recovery, both Peyton and his wife, Ashley, came for IV treatments after hours to The Guyer Institute, a center focused on anti-aging. Sly also says Peyton had Human Growth Hormone (banned by the NFL) sent to him under his wife’s name. Peyton denied the accusations to ESPN saying, “It’s completely fabricated, complete trash, garbage — there’s more adjectives I’d like to be able to use. It really makes me sick… What hurts me the most about this, whoever this guy is, this slapstick trying to insinuate that in 2011, when more than less I had a broken neck — I had four neck surgeries. … It stings me whoever this guy is to insinuate that I cut corners, I broke NFL rules in order to get healthy. It’s a joke. It’s a freaking joke.” Peyton is threatening to sue.
Since the story hit, the poorly named Sly has recanted his entire story during a taped statement, which he is clearly reading.
We know that Sly did work for the Guyer Institute in 2011. We know that both Manning and his wife were patients there. Peyton says it was suggested on the advice of team doctors and trainers because they have a hyperbaric chamber that would help in his recovery. Peyton refutes that they went outside regular hours. Dr. Dale Guyer, the founder, has declined to comment.
As for the claims about the HGH being prescribed and sent to Ashley, Peyton responded, “Any medical treatments that my wife receives, that’s her business. That has nothing to do with me. Nothing that was sent to her and my wife has used have I ever taken. Absolutely not… I have my treatments that I do. She may have hers, but that’s her business. There’s no connection between the two. I’d love to understand why this guy’s saying this, why he made it up, that he admits he makes it up and yet it still becomes a story. I’d like to be told and explained that.”
The Huffington Post calls Peyton’s comments “confusing.” Deborah Davies of Al Jazeera is emphasizing that Peyton has not denied the claims that Ashley received drugs for him. This means Ashley gets to sit next to Kristin Armstrong and Debbie Clemens at the table of spouses tarred with their husbands’ dope scandal brush.
I do not doubt that athletes are doping and that they are aided by both elaborate schemes in place to cover up and faulty systems of detecting. However, the video is bizarre at best. If you watched it, did you ask yourself why these suppliers kept answering this ‘Olympian’s’ questions? He wasn’t asking how effective the drugs were, he was writing down in-depth details about names, dates, locations. There is no subtlety anywhere near this thing. Most people named have either not responded or denied the accusations outright.
For what it’s worth, Tom Brady has expressed public sympathy for his friend Peyton.
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