Last season, an Al-Jazeera report implicated Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in a PED scandal when they reported that his wife, Ashley, received HGH deliveries in 2011 when Manning was recovering from four neck surgeries. At the time, the report and Manning’s dismal performance made the Broncos unpopular NFL expert picks, but they were able to put the distractions behind them and win the Super Bowl.
On Monday, the NFL released a statement that after investigating the claims by Al-Jazeera, they didn’t find any credible evidence to prove Manning used HGH.
Before the league made its decision, the NFL interviewed Manning and his wife, who fully cooperated with the investigation.
The Manning’s also provided the NFL with medical records that were important to the case. After reviewing the records and interviewing the Manning’s, the league determined there was no evidence that any violation had occurred.
After the NFL released its statement, the NFL Players Association also issued a statement about the retired quarterback.
In the statement, the NFLPA said that as a former player, Manning had every right to do whatever he believes is in his best interest. The union also said it knows that Manning understands the rights of players that are under the CBA, and wouldn’t do anything to undermine the active players in the league.
The report that prompted the investigation aired in December, as the team was getting ready for their playoff run. In the report, an intern at an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis was secretly recorded by an Al-Jazeera reporter implying that Ashley Manning received HGH deliveries while her husband, who played for the Indianapolis Colts at the time, was recovering from four neck surgeries.
Human Growth Hormones (HGH) is banned from all major professional leagues, and can only be prescribed for a few specific medical conditions.
After the report aired, Charles Sly, the intern, recanted the statements, which he said were recorded without his knowledge. Sly said he made up the story to impress a potential business partner.
After the report came out, Manning angrily denounced it, calling it false, trash, and garbage. Manning told reporters that he never took shortcuts to return to the field after his surgeries, he also said he had no problems with the league conducting an investigation.
Manning went on to lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl win, and retired shortly after that. While Manning has been cleared, there are other active players under investigation and facing potential NFL discipline if the investigation confirms they used PEDs.
Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, as well as former Packer Mike Neal, and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, were all mentioned in the Al-Jazeera report.
On Monday, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was confident his players will be exonerated. McCarthy said he hasn’t spoken to any of the players recently, but he spoke with them during the season, when the report came out, and he doesn’t have anything new to add to the conversation.
All four players submitted written affidavits to the NFL, thinking that would be enough for the league’s investigation. However, the NFL is now asking each player to meet with NFL security and legal teams. If they do not participate in the interviews, it could be used against them if they are disciplined.