Sunday, December 27, 2015

Kicked while down

Well, this is a fine and charitable thing. Like Peyton Manning hasn't taken enough shots to various body parts this season.

Now its his reputation that's being blindsided.

Now comes the news, or not, that Manning used HGH on the sly in 2011 while recovering from his various neck surgeries, the drugs coming to him in his wife Ashley's name. If true, it continues a dark endgame to a sparkling career, as the NFL's most prolific passer limps to the finish line like the 2015 version of Willie Mays, blundering around in pursuit of fly balls he would have caught in his sleep in his Say Hey Kid heyday.

Bad enough Peyton similarly has been unmasked as mortal. Now he's a cheater, too?

Well ... probably not.

The only saving grace in the news that Manning might have been using HGH the year the NFL banned it is that the "news" might not be news at all. To start with, the guy who ratted him out in the Al Jazeera doc has recanted his story, saying he was only throwing around Manning's name (and several other big-deal names) to misdirect the reporter who was interviewing him, on account of he didn't trust the guy. So there's that.

There's also this, from the Blob's angle of sight: If Manning was, in fact, using HGH to facilitate his recovery, who besides the NFL cares?

Look. I get the argument about PEDs. If used as PEDs, they skew the playing field, because, even if you made them legal, there would always be a strata of athlete who had access to the best and newest stuff. And that's an affront to on-the-level competition.

But using HGH (or any steroids, for that matter) to promote the healing process after a serious injury?

I'm trying very hard to understand why that's such an appalling thing. And I'm coming up empty.

Frankly I have no problem with a professional athlete using any pharmaceutical means at his disposal to recover from an injury, because such use has nothing to do with enhancing performance. He (or she) is merely trying to get back on the field, which hardly seems like the crime of the century. What am I missing here?

And all of this is probably moot anyway. When your key source says he was just testing you, your story's pretty much dead on arrival. All you've got is a bunch of unsubstantiated rumors from a possibly conned reporter.

Conclusion: This hit Peyton might just shake off. Or so the romantic in us hopes.

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