Al Jazeera America published a video documentary on Sunday night that catapulted the news channel in the spotlight. But it also brought something with which has become pretty familiar at this point: Controversy. The documentary is “The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers.” It includes many professional athletes, including NFL’s famous Peyton Manning, claiming the use of illegal, performance enhancing drugs. Payton Manning denies allegations in this video and is also threatening a law suit against Al Jazeera.
The reporter for Al Jazeera on this story, Deborah Davies was on The Today Show to defend her accusations, saying that they were toward Manning’s wife, not him. Video of Manning appears first at the 1:45 of the 49:12 video, with Davies being heard in her British accent saying this,
“…and extraordinary claims that raise questions whether an American Sporting hero, Payton Manning is linked to performance-enhancing drugs.”
Though Davies tried to defend her words by saying that the allegation was only against Manning’s wife Ashley receiving shipments of illegal growth hormones, Today’s Savannah Guthrie wasn’t buying it. She confronted Davies with the glaring reality that Davies was suggesting “something larger.”
Davies has maintained her position, insisting: “He’s not responding directly to the accusations.”
Manning has enlisted the help of Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to George W. Bush to serve as his spokesman,. He announced that “Al Jazeera is backtracking and retreating.”
The words of an individual claiming to work with the Guyer Institute of Molecular Medicine located in Indianapolis was included in the investigation. The man says that the hospital sent a package containing human growth hormones to Manning’s wife, Ashley, to ensure that the quarterback will not be in association to the transfer.
Manning, along with several other players implicated in the report, completely flatly denied the accusations. On Sunday night, Manning stated in an interview that he will most likely sue AJAM. He also added that his wife’s medical prescriptions are “her business.” “What she does has nothing to do with me.”
Charlie Sly, the central source for the accusations, has withdrawn the statements he made to Al Jazeera’s reporter.
Sly said that he “made up” the story about Peyton Manning. He also says that he isn’t a pharmacologist and didn’t work at the Guyer Institute in 2011 when Manning got HGH, the drug that is illegal by the NFL. State records show that Sly was a medical intern from 2010 until 2013.
Dale Guyer, the director of the clinic mentioned above, said Sly was a volunteering doctor at the facility from February 2013 to May 2013.
Al Jazeera also disputes and annoys the powerful. They have also experienced their own growing pains.
The station spent a lot of money to launch their news channel. Almost $500 million alone to convert into a New York-based TV station. However, the network has made news for internal strife; many female executives left the station, with many workers starting lawsuits claiming anti-Semitism and sexism. The staff harassment led CEO Ehab Al Shihabi to step down earlier this year.
AJAM’s internal fight has drawn more attention than its programming. The TV station has struggled to build a consistent audience, attracting only about 30,000 viewers per night. Given the publicity, it generated over the last months, “The Dark Side” could improve that figure. Ratings for the documentary will be out on Tuesday.
AJAM embarked on an enthusiastic mission, promising to break from current cable news and deliver fact-based information.