As soon as the names of Peyton Manning, Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, and James Harrison were uttered on an Al-Jazeera America investigative report, it was likely the NFL was going to take notice.
They rightfully opened an investigation in to the claims made in the report, however said report fell apart upon further scrutiny from others in the media. In fact, the person at the heart of Al-Jazeera’s report, pharmacist Charlie Sly, recanted everything in the report and outside of Sly’s statements while being secretly recorded nothing was ever found to connect these players to doping.
Perhaps the player with the biggest target on him following the report was Manning, yet the NFL’s investigators found nothing and the league issued a statement last month clearing him of any wrongdoing at all.
Still, the league had an interest in speaking to the three other main players in the report — Harrison, Matthews and Peppers. The NLFPA was none-too-happy about the league’s request, and eventually it came down to the NFL threatening suspension as players stonewalled attempts from the league to speak to them on this matter.
On Wednesday, Matthews and Peppers met with the league in Green Bay. The final meeting came on Thursday morning with Harrison, and guess what? Not a single shred of evidence or new information was presented by the league to the players, according to reports.
A source close to the situation said Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, whose interviews were Wednesday in Green Bay, and Steelers linebacker James Harrison, whose interview was Thursday in Pittsburgh, remain annoyed that they had to submit to the interviews but were not confronted with any new evidence or allegations during their interviews.
Given the lack of supportive evidence to the claims made and the lengths the NFL went to clear Manning’s name it is understandable that the players would be annoyed at having to be interviewed further themselves.
It is expected that all the players whose names were put forth in this now discredited report will be cleared by the league in short order, with some suggesting a statement similar to the one issued about Manning to be coming for these players.