Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has issued a statement denying that he received human growth hormone from an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis following his neck surgery in 2011, as an Al Jazeera documentary set to premier Sunday evening alleges, according to the Huffington Post's Travis Waldron and Ryan Grim.
"The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up," Manning said in the statement, per Troy E. Renck and Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. "It never happened. Never. I really can't believe somebody would put something like this on the air. Whoever said this is making stuff up."
Manning also commented on the allegations on Sunday NFL Countdown:
Mark Maske of the Washington Post, citing a source, reported the NFL will investigate Manning and all alleged players mentioned in the report. However, the Broncos released a statement on Sunday morning in support of Manning:
Knowing Peyton Manning and everything he stands for, the Denver Broncos support him 100 percent. 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 also issued a statement on Sunday, defending Manning, via Lindsay Jones of USA Today:
The documentary, titled The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers, cites former Guyer Institute worker Charlie Sly, who alleges the clinic shipped performance-enhancing substances to Manning's wife.
In a statement to Al Jazeera, Sly reportedly said his allegations in the documentary were "false and incorrect," per Waldron and Grim. ESPN.com relayed additional comments from Sly:
Sly told [ESPN's Chris Mortensen] that he isn't a pharmacist and wasn't at the Guyer Institute in 2011, as Al Jazeera claimed. State licensing records indicate that a Charles David Sly was licensed as a pharmacy intern in Indiana from April 2010 to May 2013. His license expired May 1, 2013.
He said he recanted his story to Al Jazeera when he realized that they had used information he had "made up" to a man named Liam Collins who was trying to get into the supplementation business. ...
Sly said he was "testing" Al Jazeera's undercover reporter by dropping "names like Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard and James Harrison." He said none were clients. While Manning, Howard and Harrison were mentioned in Al Jazeera's HGH investigation, Jeter was not.
"When I realized Al Jazeera was using a secret taping and Collins as a so-called investigative reporter, I was baffled," Sly said. "I cannot believe that can happen. That's why I recanted the story. It wasn't true, and I was trying to pull one over on Collins to see if he had any idea of what he was talking about.
"I was trying to determine whether this guy [Collins] was legitimate or just trying to steal some knowledge about the business."
"Ari Fleischer, who heads a sports communications company and is an adviser to Manning, slammed the accusations in an interview with the Denver Post on Saturday night, calling the report 'junk journalism,'" Renck and Jhabvala wrote. "'There's no truth to it,' Fleischer said. 'What they have is a well-known con man from England who secretly recorded a former intern.'"
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport provided more from Fleischer:
Manning's agent also denied the allegations to Al Jazeera, according to Waldron and Grim, and Sly has recanted the statements he made in the investigative report.
Manning's agent confirmed to Al Jazeera that Manning received treatment at the Guyer Institute but noted "the treatment he received at the Guyer Institute was provided on the advice of his physician and with the knowledge of team doctors and trainers," according to the Huffington Post.
The NFL banned the use of HGH when it signed the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, and it has tested players for the illegal substance since 2014. As Waldron and Grim noted, no player has tested positive for HGH.
The Al Jazeera documentary reportedly focuses on the undercover dealings of former British hurdler Liam Collins, who fabricated a desire to compete in the 2016 Olympics as a cover to network with medical personnel who had access to performance-enhancing substances.