Peyton Manning is not messing around in his denial of an Al-Jazeera report that he used human growth hormone in 2011.
Via ESPN, here was Manning’s first response to the doping allegations.
“It stings me, whoever this guy is, to insinuate that I cut corners, I broke NFL rules in order to get healthy. It’s a joke. It’s a freaking joke,” Manning said, reiterating that he did not use HGH.
“The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up,” Manning told Chris Mortensen on Saturday night. “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 went on to say, “Yes, I have been a patient under Dr. Guyer. I have had nutrient therapy, oxygen therapy and other treatments that are holistic in nature but never HGH. My wife has never provided any medication for me to take. Ashley and I never attended the clinic together after hours. There were times when I went in the morning and there were times when I went after practice so this thing about ‘after hours’ is so misleading because it may have been 5:15 p.m. because their office closed at 5.”
The main source in Al-Jazeera’s story, a former pharmaceutical intern named Charlie Sly, has since recanted his story, saying he made up accusations about numerous athletes according to ESPN. Manning, who hired Bush-era White House press secretary Ari Fleischer to handle his PR following the HGH allegations, spoke to ESPN’s Lisa Salters Sunday morning. Here are some highlights from that interview:
I rotate between being angry, furious, on and on, but disgusted is really how I feel, sickened by it. I’m not sure I really understand how someone can make something up about somebody, admit that he’s made something up, and somehow it gets published in a story. I don’t understand that.
It’s completely fabricated. It’s complete trash, garbage. There’s some more adjectives I’d like to be able to use. It really makes me sick. Makes me sick that it brings Ashley into it, her medical history, her medical privacy being violated. I don’t understand that.
I’ve done it the long way, I’ve done it the hard way, and to insinuate anything otherwise is a complete and total joke, it’s defamation, and it ticks me off.
"It's defamation and it really ticks me off."
Peyton Manning disgusted with report linking him to HGH in 2011: https://t.co/990i4EJ2hB
— ESPN (@espn) December 27, 2015
Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, also issued a statement, attempting to discredit the report.
“The allegation reported by Al Jazeera naming Peyton is absolutely false and it recounts behavior and events that never occurred,” Tom Condon said in the release. “The implications suggested by Al Jazeera are outrageous and baseless. Their source has already retracted his statements, as well as advised Al Jazeera those statements were meritless.
Notice, in Tom Condon's statement, he uses the words "Al Jazeera" four times. That's Ari Fleischer's handywork.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) December 27, 2015
Asked by Salters how he would fight the allegations, Manning just said he would throw the ball with extra anger during his workout Sunday, but it’s clear from everything he said Sunday morning that he will not take this report lying down.