The Al Jazeera reporter who anchored the network’s documentary implying star quarterback Peyton Manning used performance enhancing drugs is suddenly backpedaling furiously from the film’s insinuation.
Deborah Davies, the reporter featured on Al Jazeera’s The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers, appeared on the Today show on Tuesday, protesting that the film never accused Manning of anything untoward. She added that the film only accused Peyton manning’s wife, Ashley, of obtaining shipments of human growth hormone.
“That’s it,” Davies claimed. “That’s the allegation.” When Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie asserted that the film “suggest[ed] something larger” about Peyton Manning, Davies, evading the issue, responded that Manning never denied his wife received the growth hormone shipments. She insisted, “I have not seen a denial,” later adding, “We are not making the allegation against Peyton Manning.”
She also asserted, “We have not said that in the program. The only allegation in the program from Charlie Sly is that growth hormone was sent repeatedly from the Guyer [Institute] to Ashley Manning in Florida. We’re not making the allegation against Peyton Manning… Let’s make it clear what the allegation is. The allegation in the program is very simple, that when Charlie Sly worked in the Guyer [Institute] doing part of his training… the clinic was sending out not one shipment but repeated shipments of growth hormone to Ashley Manning in Florida. That’s it.”
Confronted by CNN Money with the accusation that Al Jazeera had made unsubstantiated claims, Davies replied, “That’s really stupid… That’s people not understanding it to start with.” She added that Al Jazeera isn’t “changing anything” and her investigative team stands by “everything in the program.” She concluded, “When you have a big story that’s out there, other people report on it. They get stuff wrong. Other people pick that up. They get stuff doubly wrong.” Then she threatened, “There are going to be some huge developments on this story.”
Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush’s former press secretary, is acting as Peyton Manning’s spokesman and replied, “Al Jazeera is backtracking and retreating… Their story was not credible to begin with and it’s not credible now. Within 48 hours of the broadcast, Deborah Davies is now contradicting her own reporting.”
The commentary during the film makes clear Al Jazeera was linking Peyton Manning to his wife’s possible use of the drug. According to the Indianapolis Star, some examples of the film’s insinuations include quotes like these:
And extraordinary claims, that raise questions whether an American sporting hero, Peyton Manning is linked to performance enhancing drugs.
Charlie Sly’s claims would involve many other top players, but his most astonishing allegation concerns an icon of American sport.
Charlie Sly raised one final astonishing question about one of the most beloved American sportsmen … Fans consider Peyton Manning one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Charlie Sly claims he was part of a medical team that helped Manning recover.
Sly is quoted in the film asserting, “Like growth hormone, all the time, everywhere, Florida. And it would never be under Peyton’s name, it would always be under her name.”
Charlie Sly is an alleged drug supplier who worked at the Guyer Institute, although his claim that he was working there in 2011 was dismissed by Dr. Dale Guyer, founder of the Guyer Institute, who said Sly only worked at the Institute as an unpaid intern for three months in 2013.
Peyton Manning has stated, “Any medical treatments that my wife received, that’s her business. That has nothing to do with me. Nothing that’s been sent to her or (that) my wife has used have I ever taken.”