Peyton Gets His Turn in the Barrel

The story we were greeted to the other day was that Peyton Manning and his wife were supplied with HGH. Here is a quote directly copied from the Huffington Post (December 26, 2015):

“An Indianapolis anti-aging clinic supplied quarterback Peyton Manning with human growth hormone, a performance-enhancing drug banned by the NFL, a pharmacist who once worked at the clinic asserts.”

Peyton ManningThe article paraphrased investigative research that was supposedly uncovered by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

Peyton Manning vehemently denied the charges. What followed on December 27, 2015 was a follow-up report by the Huffington Post, and we are again taking a direct quote:

“Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning gave a confusing response Sunday when pressed to explain allegations that a clinic sent NFL-banned performance-enhancing drugs to his house under his wife’s name, first calling the reports ‘complete trash’ and then distancing himself from his wife’s prescriptions.”

In our opinion, it almost sounds as though the Huffington Post stuck its neck out in support of the Al Jazeera piece, and then started to back-fill a possible hole that it might have dug for itself.

Very confusing allegations

The Al Jazeera Investigative Unit is now, not so sure of its sources, the timeline or the reliability of the timeline in regard to its “investigation.” Still, their report is now causing the NFL to investigate.

It is no secret that Peyton Manning was nearly forced out of football following neck injuries. He is an advocate of supplementing traditional medicine with alternative medicine. However, he vehemently denies HGH usage though if he were out of football during that time, or close to being out of football completely, we don’t know if HGH usage would have been so catastrophic during that specific phase of his treatment.

If the HGH was intended for Manning’s wife for an undisclosed condition, it is no one’s business, no more than the media or your co-workers should know intimate details about your personal medical history.

The ethical point here is that several media outlets picked up the initial report about Manning and without due-diligence or journalistic integrity, repeated the research as fact.

Neither Chuck nor I know Peyton Manning or any other athlete mentioned in the investigative report. We have nothing to gain or lose by defending him; all we know is that the employee at the Guyer Clinic who made a series of unethical allegations against Manning is apologizing to everyone that he was in error.

Pieces of Advice

Peyton Manning is nearing the end of his career. For inexplicable reasons there is this need in some quarters to “pile on him.” The phenomenon happens to athletes, to physicians and marketing directors and kindergarten teachers too, we suppose. As a society, some of us like to see greatness fail. Why, we don’t know. Peyton Manning never did a thing to harm me except to beat my team. I will forgive him that.

Ethically, to pile on someone “just because” is plain wrong; to pile on someone because we think it gains us a bigger following or readership or listening audience is plain, male cow manure. Unfortunately, there are those in the media who relish tearing down athletes simply because it makes for a good story.

Whether Al Jazeera, the Huffington Post or any other outlet, “news” has more often than not, become solely about arousal and excitement, with no one checking facts. We must also admit that there are smarmy “reporters” who love to tear down athletes just because they are convinced of their intellectual superiority over those who perform on a field of play.

In the present day, where our news cycles are in the Nano-seconds, there is the constant need for some media outlets to keep raising the arousal stakes, even if there is nothing to report. This leads us to an important point.

Chuck Gallagher counsels athletes, especially collegiate D-1 and professional athletes on making good choices, in properly handling the social and mainstream media and in understanding that everything that is said and done is in the public eye.

Peyton Manning is currently gearing up a powerful public relations team to save his reputation. He will spend a lot of money to do it. He has been smeared. If it can happen to him, it can happen to any professional or D-1 athlete, male or female, in any sport. Peyton Manning will be fine. He has led an ethical life. However it is a guarantee that an athlete who has made wrong choices in the past will have a much more difficult time clearing his or her name no matter how spurious the allegations.

Athletes and coaches must understand that the stakes are high, and the window of opportunity in which to make money as a professional is very narrow. All bad choices lead to bad consequences. Peyton Manning made very few ethical mistakes in his career and it will save him. Learn well from his example.


Sports Ethics LLC

Chuck Gallagher, President and Co-Founder, (828) 244-1400



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