Pound Ridge, NY — Peyton Manning hires Pound Ridge native Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary to President George W. Bush, to help manage the ongoing HGH crisis the NFL quarterback faces.
Manning was named by Al Jazeera as having bought human growth hormone (HGH) in 2011 to help while recuperating from neck surgery in a report released on December 26, 2015. Peyton Manning issued a personal statement on the day after Christmas calling the report from Al Jazeera regarding secretly-taped claims that he used HGH in 2011 “complete garbage,”
“For the record, I have never used HGH,” Manning told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. “It absolutely never happened. The whole thing is totally wrong. It’s such a fabrication, I’m not losing any sleep over it, that’s for sure.”
While Manning many not be losing any sleep over it, he also isn’t content to rely simply on his denial, hence enlisting, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who puts out P.R. firestorms for a living, to speak on his behalf.
“There’s no truth to it,” Fleischer said of the report, via Troy E. Renck and Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “What they have is a well-known con man from England who secretly recorded a former intern.”
The former Guyer Institute intern, Charles Sly, reportedly has recanted the claim that Manning used HGH. Sly was caught on tape (unbeknownst to him) making the allegations by Liam Collins, a British hurdler who went undercover in an effort to expose Performance Enhancing Drug use in sports. Sly told Al Jazeera that the statements attributed to him are “absolutely false and incorrect,” and that Collins took advantage of Sly during a vulnerable period following the passing of his fiancé. Sly separately told ESPN that he lied to Collins to test his legitimacy. (At some point, the sheer volume of alternative explanations from Sly makes each of them curious, at best.)
“The treatment he received at the Guyer Institute was provided on the advice of his physician and with the knowledge of team doctors and trainers,” Manning’s agent told Al Jazeera in connection with the original story on the matter. “Any medical treatment received by Ashley [Manning] is a private matter of hers, her doctor, and her family.”
With so many statements and reports and developments emerging in such a brief period of time, one has to wonder what the next statement, report, or development will be. Either way, the story has quickly mushroomed into something that could potentially be far more damaging to Manning’s legacy than his on-field performance from what could be his last NFL season.
Fleischer, a Fox Lane High School grad, who turned 55 in October, is best known for being the White House press secretary from 2001 to 2003, and has since run a Westchester County-based sports-crisis firm, Ari Fleischer Sports Communications, intended to help repair athletes’ images, including athletes such as Mark McGwire and Tiger Woods during their media issues.