There’s a new reason why the story regarding allegations of HGH use by Peyton Manning in 2011 isn’t going away. The NFL, after having no comment through the day on Sunday, has decided to look into it.
“We are reviewing the matter,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed in an email to PFT. “Our procedure is to follow up on any information that potentially involves a violation of this nature.”
Ominous as it sounds, there’s not much the NFL can do at this point. Sure, Manning can be questioned — and he’d undoubtedly repeat his angry, emotional denial of HGH use along with his reluctance to divulge private medical information about his wife, Ashley, who reportedly received HGH that was then given to Peyton. Beyond interrogating Manning and obtaining information from the Colts regarding Peyton’s various treatment regimens while recovering from four neck surgeries, the NFL has no power to force anyone to do anything.
The league lacks the power, for example, to force the Guyer Institute to release records. The NFL can’t compel Charles Sly, who was either lying when being secretly recorded or is lying when recanting his story, to cooperate. (More on that later tonight.) The league also can’t extract information involuntarily from Ashley Manning.
There’s really only one thing the NFL can do: Wait and see whether a criminal investigation results from the allegations.
If state or federal authorities with the power to prosecute potential violations of the law generate evidence that becomes publicly available, the NFL can then use that evidence to investigate — and possibly to discipline — Manning. But with Manning currently unable to play and his intention to play hinging on someone else wanting him to play in 2016, there’s a chance this entire exercise is academic and, sooner than later, irrelevant.
Looming over the investigation is the reality that, during the 2011 lockout, all drug policies arguably went away, which means that, during the lockout, Manning and other players could have used HGH without violating NFL rules.
So it won’t be easy, it could take time, and it all will be irrelevant if Manning ultimately doesn’t play in 2016.