Hey, remember the allegations that NFL stars Peyton Manning, Clay Matthews, James Harrison, Julius Peppers and Mike Neal were all taking HGH?
For a while there, the allegations raised by an Al Jazeera America report looked like they might tarnish the reputation of one of the NFL’s most iconic stars. But after some back and forth over the validity of the report and threats of legal action, the matter has largely faded from attention.
That includes within the NFL where, per USA Today’s Christine Brennan, no league official has actually spoken to Manning or the other accused players in the five months since the matter was raised.
NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart told Brennan that the league does plan to speak to the players “over the next month or so” but they’re currently coordinating with the players’ union about timing. Meanwhile the union refused to comment.
Brennan also followed up on Manning’s threat of legal action. At the time, Manning told NBC that he “probably will” sue the media company and that “I’m that angry.”
Turns out his anger has since subsided and Manning is taking a much more measured approach.
A person familiar with Manning’s strategy who was not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY Sports in a recent conversation that the former quarterback has decided after a dozen conference calls with attorneys that he doesn’t want to spend the time and money necessary to file a lawsuit that would make public the personal records and private lives of both he and his wife Ashley.
Some might see this as some kind of admission of guilt but the truth is that Manning has nothing to lose right now by staying out of it. Public perception of him doesn’t seem all that changed in spite of these claims or those regarding sexual assault accusations at the University of Tennessee. He’s also likely to find himself in front of TV cameras quite often as a face of the NFL for years to come. The last thing he needs is to open up his personal life to be dug through.
Peyton also has the luxury of watching Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard’s libel lawsuits against Al Jazeera America and seeing how they play out. If the suits are tossed out, he’ll know his would have been as well. If they proceed, maybe he’ll change his mind.