The sexual assault allegations against Peyton Manning from his time at the University of Tennessee and the claims of how he tried to tarnish Dr. Jamie Naughright’s reputation afterwards haven’t been fully addressed despite recent pieces friendlier to Manning’s side of the story, especially with Manning himself keeping quiet.
Thus, it’s not particularly surprising that they came up during his retirement press conference. Lindsay Jones of USA Today asked Manning about those allegations during that presser Monday: here’s video of that exchange, via :
“Over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about things that happened 20 years ago in your career or in your life,” Jones said. “What can you say now about them?”
“First of all, this is a joyous day and nothing can overtake this day,” Manning said. “I think it is sad that some people don’t understand the truth and the facts. I did not do what has been alleged, and I’m not interested in relitigating something that happened when I was 19 years old. Kind of like my daddy used to say when I was in trouble, I can’t say it any plainer than that. This is a joyous day and it’s a special day. Like Forrest Gump said, ‘That’s all I have to say about that.'”
These appear to be Manning’s first public comments on the resurfacing of these allegations, as they grew to greater prominence following the Super Bowl and he’s declined to comment for stories since then. The question had to be asked, and Jones deserves a lot of credit for doing so, especially as this came with a predictable backlash from Manning fans. Manning’s denial likely means this story reaches a stalemate in the public eye, at least until the Title IX lawsuit that Manning is reportedly named in plays out at the University of Tennessee.