Pey It Forward


When Donald Trump starts slamming a right-wing propaganda organ like the Manchester (NH) Union Leader, you know it’s time to take refuge in a news source you can trust.  Like Al Jazeera.  You know their point of view, you know their biases, so it’s possible to appreciate the backstory behind a hard-hitting AJ news piece that features a seemingly unlikely protagonist: Peyton Manning.

For those of you who need to see the dots before you can connect them, here goes:

  • In order to put a crimp in Vladimir Putin‘s style by tarnishing Russia’s image in the world of athletics/sport, the U.S. Department of Justice rounded up the usual suspects at FIFA and orchestrated a blizzard of media reporting about allegedly widespread bribery which influenced selection of World Cup host nations for 2018 and 2022.
  • Reminder: 2018 World Cup = Russia, 2022 = Qatar.
  • Then, a left jab at Putin’s kidneys with allegations of track and field bribery/doping coverup at IAAF and Russia’s anti-doping agency.
  • Furthermore, Euro-American media outlets regularly run reports criticizing Qatar for its poor treatment of immigrant laborers and dangerous working conditions at the kingdom’s construction projects  … including building sites for 2022 World Cup facilities.
  • Reminder: Al Jazeera is owned and operated by Qataris.

So, in addressing its brief to the court of public opinion, Qatar has chosen (perhaps with considerable irony) a Biblical allusion: “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone.”


British hurdler Liam Collins went undercover to expose the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports. Collins met with Charles Sly, a former pharmacist at the anti-aging Guyer Clinic in Indianapolis, where Manning once played for the NFL’s Colts.  Sly said he mailed HGH (Human Growth Hormone) to Manning’s home in 2011, sending it to Manning’s wife, Ashley to avoid a link to the sports star.


Predictably, Manning denied the allegations:

“The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and totally made up,” Manning said in a statement issued through the Denver Broncos to U.S. media. “It never happened. Never.”

Weelllll, anyone who has had interview and interrogation training is going to read or listen to this so-called denial with considerable skepticism (to put it mildly).  Why?  Because the subject (Manning) doesn’t come right out and say “I didn’t do it.”  Instead, he uses verbal gymnastics to distance himself from both the accusation itself and a forthright denial by employing a nested parenthetical sentence structure to isolate the unnameable proposition “something like that” from the pronoun “I.”

The allegation

that I

would do

something like that

is complete garbage

and totally made up.

Manning uses a prospective future tense “would do” instead of the past tense “did.”  He says “something like that” rather than “doping” or “take HGH.” He says “it never happened,” not “I’ve never taken HGH.”  Even taking into account the possibility/ likelihood that some risk management/PR consultant for the Denver Broncos actually wrote Manning’s statement for media release, it’s not convincing: a true denial professional should be able to do better.  When you ask the suspect “Did you kill your wife?” and he replies “I would never do something like that,” that man has got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.

Here’s what we’re left with –the allegation may not be entirely credible, but neither is the denial.  You may recall the paranoid’s precept that “just because I’m paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.”  So here’s the corollary: just because Al Jazeera may be motivated by bias doesn’t mean that Peyton Manning isn’t/wasn’t doping.  And now we have to wonder whether Manning’s prolonged injury this NFL season may have been motivated by advance knowledge that Charlie Sly had been caught talking trash on tape and that Al Jazeera wasn’t going to back off the way an American network with football advertising revenue would forced to do.

Reminds me of another Biblical injunction from long ago. “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”


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