Peyton Manning has vehemently refuted Al Jazeera’s report that he used HGH during 2011. But the NFL isn’t buying it. Not yet.
The NFL has finally broken its silence after the Al Jazeera documentary (watch above) shocked the world on Sunday. “We are reviewing the matter. Our procedure is to follow up on any information that potentially involves a violation of this nature,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email to NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk.
“I can’t speak for any other athlete. I know what I’ve done, I know how hard I’ve worked in my 18 years of playing in the NFL. There are no shortcuts in the NFL. I’ve done it the long way, I’ve done it the hard way. And to insinuate anything otherwise is a complete and total joke, it’s defamation and it really ticks me off,” Manning, the former five-time league MVP, told ESPN in a furious retort Sunday.
According to several reports, the NFL is powerless to take action against Manning. For starters, the NFL was undergoing a lockout phase in 2011 when Manning was still playing for the Indianapolis Colts. Therefore, even if Manning and other players used HGH during the period, they were not violating NFL rules since all the anti-drug policies were shunned during the lockout stage.
Beyond interrogating Peyton Manning and obtaining information from the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL has no actual power to force anyone to do anything. According to NBC Sports, NFL lacks the required power to force the Guyer Institute to release records. Also, the NFL cannot ask Charles Sly – the whistle-blower – to cooperate with their ongoing investigation. Regardless of whether Sly was lying when being secretly recorded is almost irrelevant at this stage. Also, NFL isn’t permitted to extract information from Ashley Manning, Peyton’s wife, who reportedly received HGH that was then given to her husband.
The NFL can, however, rely on state or federal authorities with the power to prosecute an athlete for potential violations of the law. If authorities can enter the fray, NFL can actually use the evidence to investigate and possibly fine Manning – the former five-time league MVP.
Remember, Peyton Manning is currently ruled out with injury and could possibly to retiring by next season. Therefore, the entire investigation could prove irrelevant.