The Dark Side, a documentary produced and aired by Al Jazeera, made claims about professional athletes who have used banned substances at various points of their careers. The claims came during hidden camera interviews conducted by Liam Collins, a British athlete, posing as being interested in obtaining performance enhancing drugs to help him qualify for one last shot at the Olympics.
Collins meets with Charlie Sly, who is identified as a pharmacist formerly employed by an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis, who can provide various substances to enhance athletic performance. Sly claims to have provided Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, Peyton Manning and other athletes substances throughout their careers. In Howard's case, the substance allegedly provided was Delta-2, which is undetectable by current drug tests used by Major League Baseball.
Before the report even aired, Sly recanted the statements he made to Collins.
William Burck, an attorney with Quinn Emanuel, who represents both Howard and Zimmerman, left no doubt about how Howard will respond to the accusations in a statement to CSNPhilly.com.
"We will go to court to hold Al Jazeera and other responsible parties accountable for smearing our clients' good names," said Burck. "It's inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman. The extraordinary reckless claims made against our clients in this report are completely false and rely on a source who has already recanted his claims."
The Phillies also issued a statement, seemingly backing Howard's claims.
"Ryan Howard has vigorously denied the allegations contained in tonight's airing of Al Jazeera's report titled The Dark Side. Ryan has spent his whole career with the Phillies and during that entire time, has been an extremely well respected member of our team and an outstanding contributor to our community. We will fully cooperate with any investigation conducted by Major League Baseball and will refer all further questions to them concerning the Al Jazeera report."
Major League Baseball has said that they will do a full investigation into the claims.
Before the airing of the documentary, Sly told the Associated Press "The statements on any recordings or communications that Al Jazeera plans to air are absolutely false and incorrect. To be clear, I am recanting any such statements and there is no truth to any statement of mine that Al Jazeera plans to air. Under no circumstances should any of those recordings, statements or communications be aired."