Peyton Manning has plenty of decisions to make, now that he has retired. One of the first decisions he made was a smart one.
Christine Brennan of USA Today reports that Manning won’t be suing Al Jazeera over the report that HGH was delivered to Manning’s wife in 2011, while Manning was dealing with chronic neck problems. Per Brennan, the decision came “after a dozen conference calls with attorneys” prompted Manning to conclude “that he doesn’t want to spend the time and money necessary to file a lawsuit that would make public the personal records and private lives of both he and his wife Ashley.”
That’s precisely what a defamation case would do, especially since truth is the ultimate defense to a claim of libel or slander. A lawsuit would give Al Jazeera license to demand the production of all medical records reflecting treatment received by Peyton or Ashley Manning at the Guyer Institute in Indianapolis, and anywhere else.
Brennan also explains that Manning is watching closely defamation lawsuits filed by baseball players Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard against Al Jazeera arising from the same documentary. If/when those cases are dismissed, Manning will know that his case would have been dismissed, too.
Frankly, dismissal would have been the least of Peyton Manning’s problems. If the medical records suggest that Ashley Manning did indeed receive HGH for use by Peyton, that information could then be used by the NFL as part of its own investigation that according to Brennan remains stuck in neutral, five months after the report came to light. With Manning possibly aspiring to run an NFL team in the future, its possible that he’d be disciplined as an executive for violations occurring as a player.
Without litigation or some other court proceeding that will bring the information to light, the NFL has no way of obtaining the documents. Unless, of course, Peyton and Ashley Manning execute the appropriate legal documents authorizing the Guyer Institute to provide that information.
At one point, Peyton Manning suggested that he’d allow the NFL to examine that information. He may have a different feeling on that issue, now that his playing career is over.