On December 26, 2015, Al Jazeera aired the following documentary connecting a number of athletes including Peyton Manning, Ryan Zimmerman, and Ryan Howard to performance enhancing drugs:
The allegations in the documentary were immediately questioned and rumors swirled that some or all of the accused athletes would file defamation lawsuits against the news outlet. To date, two of those athletes — Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard — have done so.
Background reading and legal analysis on the athletes’ legal cases:
- Examining Peyton Manning’s Potential Defamation Lawsuit Against Al Jazeera
- Fox Business article: Can Peyton Manning Beat Al Jazeera
Peyton Manning update: After a seven month “investigation,” the NFL has cleared Manning after finding no credible evidence that Manning used HGH.
The other NFL Players: Four additional NFL players were named in the documentary: Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and free agent linebacker Mike Neal. The NFL has demanded to interview the players, who have not yet acquiesced. The NFL has given the players until August 25th to provide interviews or has threatened to suspend them until they do. Here is the full letter from the NFL to the NFLPA demanding interviews:
Text of the letter the NFL sent to the NFLPA today demanding Harrison, Matthews, Neal & Peppers interview by 8/25: pic.twitter.com/iaN4xX28iq
— Dan Werly (@WerlySportsLaw) August 15, 2016
Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard Defamation Lawsuit
To date, Zimmerman and Howard are the only two athletes who have pursued legal action. Their cases are pending in federal court in the District of Columbia.
- Ryan Howard v. Al Jazeera
- Ryan Zimmerman v. Al Jazeera
- Al Jazeera’s Motion to Dismiss Zimmerman’s lawsuit
Upcoming Key Dates:
- 9/13 at 2:45 pm – Hearing on Al Jazeera and Liam Collins Motions to Dismiss Zimmerman suit.