In the six days since the New York Daily News released a 13-year-old document from a lawsuit against Peyton Manning and others, much has been said about a disputed 1996 incident involving Manning and former University of Tennessee trainer Jamie Naughright. But the 74-page document published by the Daily News also mentions an incident from 1994, the details of which had been scrubbed from the 74-page document at the request of Manning’s lawyers.
Shaun King of the New York Daily News has suggested that he’s aware of the hidden details, and that he would be publishing them. He hasn’t. Will Hobson of the Washington Post has tried to connect the dots on the 1994 incident.
Via Hobson, an October 2002 deposition of former Tennessee athletic director Doug Dickey contains an exchange in which Naughright’s lawyer asked whether Naughright had spoken to associate A.D. Carmen Tegano “about the possibility of Peyton Manning having committed academic fraud” in a 1994 course taught by Tegano, which featured Naughright as a guest lecturer.
That question appears at page 63 of Dickey’s deposition transcript. However, at no point during or after the question or before or during the answer does Manning’s lawyer request that the matter be treated as confidential. At page 77, after Naughright’s lawyer presents to Dickey two documents for inspection and questioning, Manning’s lawyer requests that the questions and answers regarding the documents be placed in the “confidential record” of the case.
While it’s possible that, only 14 pages before asserting confidentiality regarding documents relating to the secret 1994 incident, Manning’s lawyers failed to make the same request regarding questions on the same topic, most lawyers don’t allow such matters to slip through the legal equivalent of the five hole. The two documents that triggered the confidentiality request at page 77 of the Dickey deposition had been introduced only one week earlier during the deposition of Jamie Naughright. Thus, Manning’s lawyer was well aware of the sensitivity of the 1994 allegation — and the lawyers undoubtedly were ready to ensure that any sensitive information would be kept out of the public record of the case.
That said, it’s one thing for the lawyers to have asked general questions about possible academic fraud; it’s quite another for the lawyers to have produced a pair of documents that arguably (or actually) substantiated it.
Until someone discloses the details of the 1994 incident that was removed from the 74-page document published last week by the Daily News, it will remain exactly what it has been for the last six days: A mystery.
UPDATE 9:29 p.m. ET: A reader points out that page 47 of the 74-page document submitted by Naughright’s lawyers makes reference to possible academic fraud, through a question posted to Tegano at his deposition. “And isn’t it also true,” Tegano was asked, “that the plagiarism was so rampant with student athletes, than an English professor here at the University of Tennessee threatened to bring up the entire Athletic Department on chargers of academic dishonesty?” Tegano answered, “Yes.” Neither the question nor the answer were redacted from the document.