By Will Hobson and Justin Wm. Moyer February 4:
Five days before a documentary alleged that quarterback Peyton Manning and other star athletes had used performance-enhancing drugs, two men hired by Manning’s lawyers visited the parents of the documentary’s key witness. Both men wore black overcoats and jeans and, according to a 911 call from the house that evening, one initially said he was a law enforcement officer but didn’t have a badge.
After they told their daughter to call 911 the night of Dec. 22, Randall and Judith Sly stepped outside to talk to the strangers, who clarified they were private investigators, not cops. They had come to this red brick house with a well-manicured lawn looking for the Slys’ 31-year-old son, Charlie, a pharmacist who was the primary source in the upcoming documentary.
The revelation of the visit to the Slys’ home in this rural, upper middle class suburb is another in what has been a series of strange twists and turns since the Al Jazeera documentary, “The Dark Side: The Secret World of Sports Doping,” first aired. In the documentary, Sly boasted about helping pro football and baseball players cheat. In one scene, Sly implied that Manning took human growth hormone prescribed by an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic and shipped to Manning’s wife, Ashley.
Sly’s claims have spurred investigations from the NFL and Major League Baseball that likely will take months. But the first investigation of Sly came before the documentary even aired, and was bankrolled by Manning, who will lead the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Manning’s lawyers launched the private probe shortly after Al Jazeera started contacting athletes who would be named in the documentary. They hired investigators to identify, locate and interrogate Sly, and sent a lawyer to examine Peyton and Ashley’s medical records at the Guyer Institute of Molecular Medicine in Indianapolis.
The story Sly said he made up contained at least a bit of truth, though: The Guyer Institute did ship medication to Ashley Manning, Fleischer confirmed. Citing Ashley’s right to privacy, Fleischer declined to specify whether the medication was human growth hormone, which is banned by professional sports leagues and only legal to prescribe in America for a few specific conditions, such as growth hormone deficiency, HIV wasting syndrome and short bowel syndrome. Probably things she was not so concerned about while pregnant!
Search for the source
In the Al Jazeera documentary, Liam Collins, a former British hurdler, went undercover and claimed to pharmacists and doctors he was trying to revive his running career and was willing to cheat. With hidden cameras, Collins recorded Sly and asked him about procuring performance-enhancing drugs.
In speaking with Collins, Sly alleged illicit drug use by Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, as well as by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Sly also said he helped numerous Green Bay Packers take banned substances, including linebackers Clay Matthews and Mike Neal, and defensive end Julius Peppers. Is the NFL actively investigating any of them? Rhetorical question. (All of the players have denied the claims; Zimmerman and Howard have sued Al Jazeera for libel.)
While Al Jazeera refused to identify its source, employees at the Guyer Institute noticed something familiar.
The unnamed source, Al Jazeera wrote in the email to Guyer, alleged that Peyton and Ashley Manning visited the anti-aging clinic after hours to “get IVs and shit .” The last two words reminded a few Guyer employees of a fleshy, fast-talking intern from a few years before.
Only the beginning
While Sly has recanted everything he said about giving athletes banned drugs, several scenes in the documentary are more difficult to dismiss.
At one point, Sly offers Al Jazeera’s Collins a syringe he claims contains Delta-2, a banned steroid. Asked about that scene this week, Sly’s lawyer Cohron said his client lied and that the syringe actually contained a vitamin supplement.
In another scene, Taylor Teagarden, a journeyman catcher who played with the Chicago Cubs, is waiting outside Sly’s apartment. Once inside, Teagarden talks about taking Delta-2.
Teagarden did not reply to requests for comment. Cohron claims Teagarden was lying to help Sly appear to be a steroid dealer. Because professional players do this. Go out of their way to travel to clinics to help some guy pad his reputation for providing illegal performance enhancers. Yup.
In multiple statements since the documentary aired, Peyton Manning has never denied that the Guyer clinic shipped human growth hormone to his wife, as Sly alleged. Manning has just denied ever taking it.
“We’ve never said he [Sly] had everything wrong. We just said what he said about Peyton was wrong,” Fleischer said. “It’s like the saying . . . Someone with a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.”
Washington Post: Will Hobson and Justin Wm. Moyer
It is all about felating the other owners and distracting from your failures with regards to domestic violence, child abuse, and brain damage, "integrity of the game," Roger.