By now, you’ve heard about the Al Jazeera documentary which alleged Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had HGH shipped to his house under his wife’s name. Manning issued a denial and since has stewed over the report that aired on Saturday.
When asked what he’ll do, Manning told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King that he would probably sue and that he was very angry. Manning brought up the word “defamation.” And he isn’t the only one. An attorney for Phillies slugger Ryan Howard has also threatened litigation against Al Jazeera.
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk who has never been shy to offer suggestions has several for Manning. One of which is not to sue in anger. Another is to be sure whether he wants to proceed with a defamation lawsuit as the burden of proof will be on him as to whether the news organization did a false and defamatory statement about him. Defamatory lawsuits are very difficult for public figures to win, but if Manning can find proof, then he might have a chance.
And Florio points out that if Manning proceeds, many details of his private life will be made public and then the story will remain in the news cycle for perhaps longer than he wants. Florio has a legal background and certainly knows of what he speaks.
Certainly Manning has a lot to think about before proceeding with any type of lawsuit. Whether he wants to open himself to more scrutiny after the Al Jazeera documentary is certainly up to him, but if he feels he has enough juice to proceed and then win then he could find the burden will have been worth it. Until then, Manning should get advice from as many people as possible to see what his next step should be.