With the Denver Broncos charging back to take home field advantage in the AFC Playoffs behind newly-reinstated Peyton Manning, the narrative surrounding the veteran quarterback has thankfully (for Broncos fans) shifted from a combination of career obituaries and PED accusations to the ever-fruitful redemption song. But right before the games kicked off on Sunday, Al-Jazeera reasserted the validity of their claims that Manning received shipments of HGH to his Florida home by revealing that they had a second, anonymous source.
With this new information, it’s worth recapping where we’ve been and where we stand in the whole affair, and what matters. So, let’s go back to the beginning.
- On December 26, Al Jazeera released a report, titled The Dark Side, alleging that, among other high-profile pro athletes, Peyton Manning had received shipments of HGH in 2011 from an anti-aging clinic in Indiana to assist in his recovery from the neck surgery that kept him out for a year and ultimately ended his Colts career.
- The only named source in the report, pharmacist Charlie Sly, recanted his contributions to the story, calling them “absolutely false and incorrect.”
- Manning angrily responded to the report, calling it “made up” and saying the shipments “never happened.” He also, hilariously, claimed to have “broken fingers” by taking out his anger in practice throwing sessions.
- Finally, just as most of the football world was excited to move on, dismiss the report and resume lionizing their favorite old quarterback, Al Jazeera defended their reporting as discussed above.
Al Jazeera is a reputable news outlet, and they are certainly not outliers for concealing sources to protect anonymity. How much you trust their version of events at this point largely depends on where you stood on PEDs to begin with, or how much of a Broncos fan you are, or how much hero worship you indulge.
Though Roger Goodell loves to make up rules as he goes along, it would be a shock to see Manning face any discipline from the NFL over a news report about events over four years ago. For now, we’re left with the prospect of gag-inducing “overcoming redemption” storylines through the Broncos’ bye week.