Ron Chenoy/USA Today

Peyton Manning on HGH Allegations: Al Jazeera And The Huffington Post Should Be Ashamed They Invaded Ashley Manning's Medical Privacy

Doc Bear takes exception to Al Jazeera's 'investigative' documentary 'The Dark Side' and points out what no one else is talking about — Ashley Manning's privacy was neglectfully violated.

First, full disclosure. I was a primary care physician. I was also a doctor of Oriental Medicine, which I taught to students, from beginners to post-doctoral classes. I’m not a Western physician, nor am I an expert regarding PEDs. I do not consider PEDs in any way the central aspect of the steaming pile that tries to drag Peyton Manning into it.

I’ve seen so many logical fallacies and conspiracy nonsense go by about this that I finally tired of it enough to point out the obvious. Not, though, before viewing the documentary ‘The Dark Side’ and reading the Huffington Post article, which discusses the supposed world of Charles Sly. If this is what passes for investigative journalism, that profession is in very dark waters indeed. 

I found both the HP article and the ‘documentary’ to be terrible examples of any form of quality journalism. My fatigue was admittedly in part from the number of idiotic comments by people who claim that there’s any kind of evidence of Peyton Manning’s use of PEDs, whether HGH or any other performance enhancing drug. At this time, there is not. I don’t expect any, either. 

We might as well start at the beginning with the HP article. It’s title was:

Explosive Documentary Links Peyton Manning, Major Athletes To Doping Ring

Under the screaming headline banner it goes on to say, “The quarterback and his wife received human growth hormone in 2011, an alleged supplier asserts in a new undercover investigation.”  The boldface is mine. Then, the resultant article fails to link Peyton to anything. The supposed ‘supplier’ has already recanted his story. That’s as far as ‘proof’ gets. Al Jazeera continues to claim that he’s telling the truth.

But he doesn’t. When even the one key person that Al Jazeera bases their claims on admits he’s wrong, it’s time to end the farce. Even if what he claimed to know was true, nothing he said linked Peyton Manning to anything but his marriage. Ashley Manning has had her right to medical privacy under the law invaded. Not one person I read or spoke to seems to have noticed that this isn’t legal.

According to Al-Jazeera, a man named Charles Sly used to ‘work’ at the Guyer Institute. That clinic has gone on record that Sly was an unpaid intern there in 2013. Al Jazeera claims that they called the Institute and were given the exact dates he ‘worked’ there in 2011. The clinic denies receiving any such call. Al Jazeera did not record it but claims there is proof — they just haven’t released it yet. . 

Charles Sly claimed that he worked there in 2011. He’s now admitted that he fabricated much of his so-called information, including the work he formerly claimed to have done there in 2011. It was at that time that Peyton Manning’s wife may have been a patient there. Or not.

There was not a single fact that linked Peyton to anything the clinic might or might not have prescribed for his wife. I live with a person who sometimes takes estrogen. I’ve managed to restrain myself from stealing it. I sometimes require very powerful painkillers.

She’s never taken any. One person in a marriage taking something — and that also lacks proof in this case — says absolutely nothing about their spouse’s behavior. Those that leap to say it’s somehow evidence of Peyton’s wrongdoing are saying more about their standards than his. 

Peyton Manning has never been linked with any professional misconduct. Unlike our miniscule public opinion standards, our courts require that a case be proven ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’. Al Jazeera never got within miles of such a bar. All that’s even been asserted comes down to the fact that Ashley Manning’s legal right to medical privacy was violated.

There’s no link to Peyton except the claim by Sly that he talked to Manning at some point. He thought Manning was a nice guy. The feeling isn’t returned. 

You know a person has no rational argument when they say, “Well, IF such and such happened, then you could maybe have THIS situation.” In other words, if we postulate that the world is flat, then maybe we could walk out and peer over the edge. That’s what the documentary and the HP did with regard to the Mannings — IF Ashley was a patient and IF she was treated with HGH, THEN we can claim that Peyton took it, right? No? Of course not. 

The media firestorm was an embarrassment. There may have been useful information obtained on the general PED problems. That’s not the point here. The point is that the Mannings were tarred with a very sketchy and illegal brush.

If Ashley Manning was a patient at this clinic, anything between her and her physician(s) is private under the law. The HIPAA statutes were passed in great part to strengthen that right to privacy. If Sly is making any of her medical records public, he’s up for losing his license, among other violations of the law. He should.  If the Manning’s sue him, he’s earned that, too.

Al Jazeera is hoist by their own petard with regard to this. If Sly is telling the truth, he’s breaking the law regarding Ashley Manning's legal rights and they are contributing (they call that ‘reporting’).  Sly’s also claimed that he’s a supposedly major dealer in extra-legal substances. 

In other words, by any standards he’s a crook. Putting his word up against one of the most respected, community-supporting and hard-working athletes of the last 30 years, without any solid evidence, is ridiculous.  

If he’s not telling the truth — and I’ve yet to see any indication that he is — then Al Jazeera doesn’t have a story. If one part of your story is pure nonsense, it rightfully casts a pall over the rest of your claims. If your source recants, you’re out of luck. Al Jazeera knows that. It’s fighting a rear-guard action on this one. 

The conspiracy nuts will tell you (as they did me yesterday) that Sly’s statements regarding Ashley Manning’s supposed care are proof that Peyton was doping. That’s idiocy on two levels. First, we have no proof that she was receiving these medications, much less that they were being sent ‘all over the place’ as Sly claimed.

An admitted liar’s statement carries no weight with me. Second, nothing actually links Peyton to any of this. All of it is a rush to guilt by association — in this case being associated with his own wife, who may or may not have been a patient at this clinic in 2011. 

Peyton Manning has every reason to be incensed. To attack his reputation on the word of an admitted liar and drug dealer is moronic. At the very least, extraordinary claims should require extraordinary proof. 

What Al Jazeera offers instead are the droppings of a large male bovine. 

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Doc Bear is a Featured Columnist for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @DocBearOMD.

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