|Ari Fleischer (Getty Images)
. . . Peyton isn’t content to rely simply on his denial. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer also has been enlisted to speak on Manning’s behalf.
“There’s no truth to it,” Fleischer said of the report, via Troy E. Renck and Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “What they have is a well-known con man from England who secretly recorded a former intern.”Manning's public denials regarding the Al Jazeera undercover report have been most emphatic. Some reporters, however, are starting to focus more on the lack of a statement issued on behalf of Peyton's wife, Ashley, whom Sly originally claimed received mailed HGH treatments intended for Peyton's use. Manning does not deny that he or his wife received treatments at the anti-aging Guyer Institute; only that his treatments did not involve the use of the banned HGH. NBC Sports elaborated on this point:
It’s odd that Manning would quibble over the notion that he and Ashley went to the clinic “after hours” with a precise explanation of when they arrived there, presumably to account preemptively for the possibility that other current or former employees of the Guyer Institute will decide to provide details regarding Manning’s situation, on or off the record. It’s also noteworthy that, despite Fleischer presumably providing a comprehensive media strategy for dealing with the situation, Ashley Manning has not yet issued a statement denying the purchase or receipt of HGH.
With so many statements and reports and developments emerging in a fairly short time frame, it’s fair to wonder what the next statement, report, or development will be. Either way, the story has quickly mushroomed into something that could potentially be far more damaging to Manning’s legacy than his on-field performance from what could be his last NFL season.This whole story reminded me of that Joseph Mobarecki case from a few years ago. He's the guy police arrested for possession of more than $100,000 worth of anabolic steroids, which police believe he had been dealing to a number of prominent athletes. One of our former corrupt local prosecutors, Carl Brizzi, made a plea agreement with Mobarecki's attorney, Paul Page, who also just happened to be Brizzi's business partner, under which Brizzi returned to Mobarecki $10,000 of the $17,000 police had seized from Mobarecki at the time of his arrest and allowed him to plead guilty to just one felony offense. Mobarecki served just 2 days in jail after pleading guilty and paying a $365 fine. There was no follow-up investigation to determine who Mobarecki's drug clients were. Page later pleaded guilty to real estate fraud in connection with a business deal where Brizzi was his partner. Thanks to our former U.S. Attorney and Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett, Carl Brizzi skated on all of the crimes he committed while acting as the prosecutor of the state's largest county. And then there was the prescription drug fraud case involving Colts owner Jim Irsay that Brizzi's predecessor, Scott Newman, swept completely under the rug. There is probably no other place in America where the rich and privileged can get away with breaking the law so easily than Indianapolis. I don't think Manning has anything to worry about even if he or his wife did anything wrong.
UPDATE: Here's an interesting perspective that WTHR sports analyst Bob Kravitz shared on the allegations. Kravitz actually received HGH treatments from Dr. Guyer at one point and doesn't exactly provide a ringing endorsement for his unconventional medical practice:
Several years ago, I wrote a column and quoted former Colt Anthony Gonzalez, who is now out of football, insisting that HGH use was common in NFL locker rooms and the league and the NFLPA needed desperately to come to an agreement on testing. Gonzalez couldn’t, or wouldn’t, provide a percentage of players using the drug, which is used medically for various ailments including wasting from AIDS. But, he said, it was significant, and needed to be removed from the game.
I’m going to share something with you: About a decade ago or more, I was dealing with several health issues and, in desperation, went to see Dr. Guyer at the Guyer Institute on 82nd Street. Guyer, and his practice, are currently at the center of this growing scandal. My primary complaint was overwhelming and relentless fatigue, and after trying several different remedies, Guyer put me on HGH for a couple of months. He told me it would help with my energy and basically bring me back to the land of the living. Unfortunately, it had zero impact – except on my bank account.
I quit using it, and years later, doctors eventually discovered what my issues were and addressed them properly.
It’s safe to assume that if Manning did, in fact, receive HGH from Dr. Guyer, he used it in an effort to recover from the multiple neck surgeries that sidelined him the entire 2011 season and put his career in peril. This was a time when Manning was desperate to return to the field, even going overseas to try some procedures that are not yet accepted in the United States.
If it’s true, though, Manning cheated. No, he wasn’t trying to gain an edge from performance-enhancing drugs, as so many athletes do. He was simply attempting to return to the football field.
But no matter.
Whatever it was allegedly used for, it was wrong, and if proven, Manning has a major issue on his hands . . .