Five take-aways from watching the Al Jazeera report on the oft-injected underbelly of sports (OK, I may have breezed through some of the parts that didn’t involve Payton Manning ):
- Manning doesn’t need to sue over this. There is enough reasonable doubt contained within the report that the Denver quarterback can continue to wage an effective campaign in the court of public opinion. At least until something more concrete comes along. The fact that his first act was to hire a top-shelf PR guy, Ari Fleischer, rather than a lawyer would seem to tip off that game plan.
- It has been shown that the sports doping class is putting itself at long-term physical risk. What this report further underscores is the terrible damage it does to its collective soul by just associating with the PED suppliers. In the report we are introduced to an assortment of obvious weasels. I wouldn’t take a vitamin from any those sketchy characters, let alone something that can rearrange your hormones.
- Just a suggestion: If you are a multi-millionaire sports and marketing icon, don’t seek any kind of treatment at an “anti-aging clinic.” Aren’t there plenty of “hospitals” or “doctors’ offices” where Manning and his wife could get what was required. Manning admits that he and his wife were customers of one such Indianapolis clinic. So, what, was Ashley Manning prepping for a fight with Ronda Rousey?
- An assortment of other names were dropped in the Al Jazeera report, from the realms of baseball and football. They’ve all issued the requisite denials, but are all quietly grateful that Manning’s name is providing them such an awful lot of shade.
- We’re fooling ourselves if we think there can be any kind of clear-cut victory claimed in the war against PEDs. One look at the candy store of steroids and hormones that these characters had in their fridge will confirm that. There always is going to be a market for their wares. Where ego meets greed, the incentive is overpowering. Was Manning among the users of HGH in the wake of his multiple neck surgeries? I want to say, “No that’s absurd, no way, ridiculous.” I want to say, “That report has more holes in it than a U.S. border fence.” But the sad fact is that in this world, such blanket defenses aren’t wise.