Ryan Zimmerman Reportedly Suing Al Jazeera America over Doping Allegations

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2016

Aug 11, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) at bat during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman will reportedly sue Al Jazeera America for alleged defamation. 

Reuters reported Tuesday that the 31-year-old was going to file suit against the broadcast news outlet. 

According to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal, Zimmerman's lawsuit denies he took any illegal performance-enhancing substances:

Zimmerman was among the athletes Al Jazeera America included in a report titled The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers that aired on Dec. 27 in connection to a doping ring, according to Travis Waldron and Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post.

"The report, 'The Dark Side,' is the result of a monthslong investigation in which Liam Collins, a British hurdler, went undercover in an attempt to expose the widespread nature of performance-enhancing drugs in global sports," Waldron and Grim's report stated. 

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was the centerpiece of Al Jazeera America's piece, with Zimmerman one of the nine other athletes from various sports mentioned.

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Chicago Cubs minor league catcher Taylor Teagarden were the other baseball players named. A source told CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury Howard is filing a defamation lawsuit against Al Jazeera as well.

Per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Howard and Zimmerman's attorney, William Burck, released a statement on behalf of his clients denying the allegations:

It's inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman.

The extraordinarily reckless claims made against our clients in this report are completely false and rely on a source who has already recanted his claims. We will go to court to hold Al Jazeera and other responsible parties accountable for smearing our clients' good names.

The Nationals also released a statement included in Zolecki's report about the allegations against Zimmerman.

"Ryan has unequivocally stated that these allegations are false," the statement said. "The Lerner family and our organization fully support him. We are confident Major League Baseball's investigation will show the allegations levied in the report are unfounded."

Zimmerman has spent his entire 11-year career with the Nationals, playing just 156 games the last two seasons because of injuries. He was named to the National League All-Star team and won a Gold Glove in 2009.