Al Jazeera Documentary Links Peyton Manning, Others to Illegal Doping Ring
An in-depth investigative report from Al Jazeera released Sunday has accused several professional athletes, including superstar Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, of illegally using performance enhancing drugs in order to gain an edge on the competition.
The documentary enlisted the help of 37-year-old British hurdler Liam Collins, who spent six months undercover working on behalf of Al-Jazeera’s investigative unit to secretly record meetings with doctors, pharmacists, and suppliers of the drugs.
Collins posed as a prospective buyer, looking to do “whatever necessary” to once again compete at an international level and qualify for the Rio Olympics. Armed with hidden cameras, Collins recorded his interactions with several drug suppliers.
However, the brunt of the investigation relied on a series of recordings with a pharmacist named Charlie Sly, who in 2011 worked at an anti-aging clinic where Manning sought treatment for a sidelining neck injury. Sly told Collins that Peyton and his wife, Ashley, would visit the Guyer Institute after hours and receive IV treatments. He also claimed that the clinic regularly sent shipments of human growth hormone or HGH to Ashley, but he believed the drugs were actually intended for Peyton.
According to the report, prescribing HGH in the U.S. is extremely limited, and is only used to treat patients suffering with HIV, pituitary tumors, and shortened bowels. Some athletes take the drug illegally in order to retain muscle mass or recover from injuries.
HGH isn’t the only drug Al Jazeera claims Sly provided to professional athletes. In the hidden camera footage, Sly also brags about supplying Delta-2, another banned substance, to Green Bay’s Mike Neal, Julius Peppers, and Clay Matthews. He also claimed to have supplied drugs to baseball players Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals and Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies, and football players Dustin Keller, formerly of the Miami Dolphins, and James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Al Jazeera contacted each of the accused athletes for comment but all either declined to comment or outright denied the doping claims. Manning addressed the report Sunday, telling ESPN he was “disgusted” by the claims vowing to sue the news organization for defamation. Manning told ESPN,
It’s completely fabricated, complete trash, garbage — there’s more adjectives I’d like to be able to use. It really makes me sick.
Since the report was released, Sly uploaded a scripted video response recanting any and all statements he made to Al Jazeera. But while most of his recorded conversations with Collins sounded like an exaggerated name-dropping session, there very well may be truth to his original claims–no one knows yet.
The sports industry has been privy to many doping scandals in the past, but the bevy of athletes from different sports believed to be involved in this doping ring causing serious concern for the integrity of our country’s athletics.
So far there has been no word of any formal investigation into the legitimacy of Al Jazeera’s claims, but the likelihood of one is strong. Given the recorded evidence, it would be irresponsible to ignore these allegations, even if they do involve one of football’s most beloved athletes.
Watch Al Jazeera’s Investigation Below