Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning strongly denied a report scheduled to air last night that says he received human growth hormone through his wife while he was recovering from a series of neck surgeries in 2011 as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
“It’s completely fabricated, complete trash, garbage,” Manning said yesterday morning in an interview with Lisa Salters of ESPN. Asked directly by Salters if he had ever taken HGH, he said he had not.
He also expressed frustration and anger over the report.
“Angry, furious, disgusted is really how I feel,” Manning said. “Sickened by it. I’m not sure I understand how someone can make something up about somebody, admit that he made it up, and yet somehow it’s published in a story. I don’t understand that.”
A report by Al Jazeera network said in an undercover look into doping in global sports that Manning received HGH through his wife, Ashley, from an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis. The drug has been banned by the NFL since the league and the NFL Players Association agreed to it as part of their collective-bargaining agreement, which was concluded in August 2011.
Testing for HGH didn’t begin until 2014, and no players have tested positive for it.
“The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up,” Manning said in a statement released by the Broncos. “It never happened. Never. I can’t believe somebody would put something like this on the air. Whoever said this is making stuff up.”
Manning said on ESPN he is particularly upset that his wife has become part of the story.
“It makes me sick that it brings Ashley into it, her medical history being violated,” Manning said. “Any medical treatment that my wife received, that’s her business.”
Manning told Peter King yesterday that he might sue Al Jazeera over the report.
“Yeah, I probably will. I’m that angry,” Manning said on NBC’s Football Night in America broadcast before the Giants-Vikings game.
The report includes information from former Guyer Institute pharmacist Charlie Sly, who apparently spoke to an Al Jazeera undercover reporter examining the doping story. Sly indicated Manning was among several athletes who were given performance-enhancing drugs at the Indianapolis-based clinic, according to the report. Among other things, Sly said Manning often went to the clinic after regular business hours to be treated.
However, Sly subsequently recanted his statement in a video posted on YouTube.
“The statements on any recordings or communications that Al Jazeera plans to air are absolutely false and incorrect,” Sly said. “To be clear, I am recanting any such statements and there is no truth to any statement of mine that Al Jazeera plans to air. Under no circumstances should any of those recordings, statements or communications be aired.”
Manning issued a statement to ESPN explaining his association with the clinic but denied using HGH.
“Yes, I have been a patient under Dr. Guyer,” Manning said. “I have had nutrient therapy, oxygen therapy and other treatments that are holistic in nature, but never HGH. My wife has never provided any medication for me to take. Ashley and I never attended the clinic together after hours. There were times when I went in the morning and there were times when I went after practice, so this thing about ‘after hours’ is so misleading because it may have been 5:15 p.m. because their office closed at 5.”
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who represents Manning, told NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport that Manning has never used HGH and has never failed any league drug test. Fleischer said the report will not affect Manning’s status with the Broncos. It is uncertain whether he will play in tonight’s home game against the Bengals. He has been out of the lineup with a foot injury, with Brock Osweiler filling in.
The Broncos said in a statement that they believe Manning and support their quarterback.
“Knowing Peyton Manning and everything he stands for, the Denver Broncos support him 100 percent,” the statement said. “These are false claims made to Al Jazeera, and we don’t believe the report. Peyton is rightfully outraged by the allegations, which he emphatically denied to our organization and which have been publicly renounced by the source who initially provided them.
“Throughout his NFL career, particularly during his four seasons with the Broncos, Peyton has shown nothing but respect for the game. Our organization is confident Peyton does things the right way, and we do not find this story to be credible.”
The Colts, whom Manning played for from 1998-2011, issued a statement calling the report “utterly ridiculous.”
“We are thoroughly familiar with Peyton’s tireless work habits, his medical history, and, most importantly, his integrity,” the Colts said. “Peyton played the game in Indianapolis for 14 years the right way. He never took any shortcuts and it would be absurd to suggest he would have taken prohibited performance-enhancing drugs.
“We also note that the ’source’ of this allegation has since recanted his story. The entire Indianapolis Colts organization and the Irsay family hope this crude effort to besmirch Peyton’s reputation will not be permitted to tarnish the legacy of a great Colt.”
Manning’s younger brother, Eli, said after the Giants’ 49-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday night that he didn’t “really know much about it. I think he had some comments today. I haven’t seen everything, but I think he had some strong comments about the accusations.”
Asked what his reaction was when he heard the report about Peyton’s alleged HGH use, Eli said, “It all seemed very odd.”