The Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning, a focal point of a recent Al Jazeera investigation tying the NFL quarterback to a doping ring, took a jab at the network during a press conference Wednesday, moments after executives announced that the channel would close its doors by the end of April.
“I’m sure it’s going to be just devastating to all their viewers,” he quipped after a journalist asked how he felt about the shuttering of the network.
It was a sarcastic dig at the persistently low ratings of the network, which brought in an average of 30,000 viewers during prime time hours. CNN, by comparison, brought in an average of 712,000 viewers during prime time last year.
The Al Jazeera team that produced the investigation into the use of human growth hormones in professional football and baseball -- which also reported that a clinic mailed HGH and other drugs to Manning's wife -- will not be affected by the shutdown, according to The Washington Post.
The investigation, “The Dark Side: The Secret World Of Sports Doping,” was widely criticized by the traditional sports media -- the very journalists who should have broken such a big story on their beat.
“Al Jazeera is not a credible news organization," said ESPN's Mike Ditka on an episode of "NFL Countdown" following the release of the investigation. "They’re out there spreading garbage. That’s what they do, yet we give them credibility by talking about it.”
Unsurprisingly, the investigation was also met with criticism from a number of professional athletes named in the exposé -- with The Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman and Philadelphia Phillies' Ryan Howard filling libel lawsuits against the soon-to-be shutdown network.
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