Following a seven-month investigation, the NFL announced Monday that it had uncovered “no credible evidence” that Peyton Manning ever used or obtained performance-enhancing drugs.
In a short, 128-word statement, the league said the Manning family was “fully cooperative” and provided all information asked of them by investigators. The investigation reportedly “involved witness interviews, a review of relevant records and other materials, online research, and laboratory analysis and review,” although that was as specific as the statement got on Monday.
Because the NFL cannot do anything without at least some portion of their fan case crying foul, and because of the multi-year drama that was “deflategate,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s tweet about the news led to some expected reactions from NFL skeptics in general and New England Patriots fans in particular.
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The NFL investigated Manning as a result of the Al Jazeera documentary “The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers.” In it, Charles Sly, a former intern at an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis, claimed Manning’s wife, Ashley, once received human growth hormone, which is banned by the league. After news of the documentary emerged, Sly recanted his comments, saying the undercover athlete who played a large role in the documentary took advantage of him while he was still mourning the death of his fiancée. Manning later called the film’s allegations “completely fabricated, complete trash, garbage.”
In its statement, the NFL said it will now investigate the documentary’s allegations against other players, which include Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers.