Update: MLB Player’s Libel Suit Against Al Jazeera
On May 31, 2018, Al Jazeera filed an opposition motion in the Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard libel lawsuit. As we have previously reported, MLB player’s, Zimmerman and Howard, sued Al Jazeera after a 2015 documentary called “The Dark Side: The Secrets of Sports Dopers” aired. The documentary accused the Zimmerman and Howard, and other professional athletes, of using performance-enhancing drugs (PED’s). While the two sides continue to battle over discovery, Zimmerman and Howard previously filed a motion to compel. In their motion, Zimmerman and Howard sought information from Al Jazeera’s sources. According to Zimmerman and Howard, Al Jazeera’s documentary was based off of statements made by pharmacist Charles Sly and Al Jazeera’s outside law firm Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT). In the documentary, Sly stated that athletes, including Zimmerman and Howard, ordered several shipments of PED’s. Sly later retracted his statements prior to the publication of the documentary, claiming that he had been lying about the serious accusations.
Now, in their opposition motion, Al Jazeera claims that Zimmerman and Howard’s “claim that Sly was the ‘single’ source and that Al Jazeera’s outside law firm, [DWT], served as a second or ‘corroborating source’ … [are] contradictory [and] false.” According to Al Jazeera, “DWT was not a ‘source’ for anything that appeared in the documentary” and “the documentary did not rely on a single source.” The second corroborating source for some of Sly’s statements, according to Al Jazeera, was Peyton and Ashley Manning, who voluntarily communicated facts to Al Jazeera through their lawyers at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. “DWT simply relayed the information the Manning’s provided through counsel.” Manning has since publically denied the allegation that he was the corroborating source. The Manning’s spokesperson made a statement which read,
“Al Jazeera’s self-serving claim that Peyton Manning’s attorneys ‘confirmed’ Al Jazeera’s allegations about Peyton Manning is absolutely false. In fact, information was provided to Al Jazeera that confirmed the Al Jazeera allegations about Peyton Manning were unfounded. In addition, the sole source for Al Jazeera’s allegations has publicly recanted them. Moreover, the NFL conducted an extensive investigation of the claims raised in Al Jazeera’s programs and found no evidence to support them. This is a desperate move by Al Jazeera to distract the courts from its own wrongdoing.”
As we have previously reported, in late 2015, using the same uncover report based on Sly’s statements, Al Jazeera also accused The Manning’s of using PED’s. During the undercover interview, Sly said, “I did part of my training at the Guyer Institute which is like this anti-aging clinic in Indiana. [Peyton Manning] and his wife would come in after hours and get IV’s and s–t. So one thing that Guyer does is he dispenses drugs out of his office, which physicians can do in the United States it’s just not very many of them do it. And all the time we would be sending [wife] Ashley Manning drugs. Like growth hormone, all the time, everywhere, Florida. And it would never be under Peyton’s name, it would always be under her name.”
After the allegations first surfaced, The Manning’s dismissed them as “complete trash” and “garbage.” In 2016, the NFL did an investigation and found “no credible evidence” to support Sly’s and Al Jazeera’s clams.