According to Al Jazeera, the previously unknown second source in the 2015 Peyton Manning HGH probe was none other than Manning’s own camp. The now defunct news organization claims that Manning’s lawyers “confirmed” that the former Vol legend did in fact use human growth hormones in 2011 while recovering from a fourth neck surgery.
Predictably, Manning’s camp denied the claims, providing this statement to the Hollywood Reporter:
“Al Jazeera’s self-serving claim that Peyton Manning’s attorneys ‘confirmed’ Al Jazeera’s allegations about Peyton Manning is absolutely false. In fact, information was provided to Al Jazeera that confirmed the Al Jazeera allegations about Peyton Manning were unfounded. In addition, the sole source for Al Jazeera’s allegations has publicly recanted them. Moreover, the NFL conducted an extensive investigation of the claims raised in Al Jazeera’s programs and found no evidence to support them. This is a desperate move by Al Jazeera to distract the courts from its own wrongdoing.”
Whether Manning ever utilized any performance-enhancing drug, we might never know, but it begs a more important question — if he did, who actually cares?
The New England contingent certainly does — they feel their star quarterback, Tom Brady, has been unfairly targeted by the media.
Football purists are also triggered by this allegation — how could a player of Manning’s stature ever stoop to “cheating?”
As a fan of sports, I couldn’t care less.
If Manning in fact used HGH, it allowed us football nutcases to witness quarterback mastery rarely seen. From 2012-2014, Manning threw for nearly 15,000 yards, completed 67 percent of his passes, and tossed 131 touchdowns. During that span, he was named First-Team All-Pro twice, won an MVP, and led the Denver Broncos to a 38-10 record.
How could I possibly let potential HGH usage prevent me from enjoying such dominance?
This applies to other sports as well.
Barry Bonds randomly developed a Super Sayain cranium and had his four best seasons from ages 36 to 39.
During that four-year stretch, Bonds won four MVP awards, batted .349, hit 209 home runs (including 73 in 2001), was walked an absurd 755 times, and recorded slugging and on-base percentages of .809 and .559.
He is the only baseball player of my lifetime who was must-watch television. Every at-bat was an event. Bonds was so feared that he was once intentionally walked with the bases loaded, a statistically sound move considering how dominant of a hitter he was.
If he indeed used steroids, I’m glad he did. We’ll never witness anything as spectacular in baseball history again.
To a much lesser degree, LeBron James has been accused of using banned substances in order to maintain his freakish durability. In 15 seasons, The King has suffered zero major injuries.
Now, in what would be the twilight of most careers, James is performing at the highest level in NBA history and just scored 51 points in an NBA Finals game.
If each player I mentioned did in fact break the rules and used banned substances, they did so to dominate and entertain us mere mortals. And it’s not as if their teams were absolute juggernauts — Manning won a Super Bowl in 2015 after his arm became a literal noodle, Bonds never won a World Series, and James has three championships in eight attempts.
At the end of the day, allegedly using HGH to recover from four major neck surgeries should not be held against Manning. It was done to preserve one of the greatest careers in sports history.
As a fan of sports, I’m fine with that, and you should be too.