Thirteen years ago, USA Today obtained 74 pages of explosive court documents on Peyton Manning, Archie Manning, the University of Tennessee, and Florida Southern College that revealed allegations of a sexual-assault scandal, cover up, and smear campaign of the victim that was so deep, so widespread and so ugly that it would've rocked the American sports world to its core.
Mel Antonen, now a baseball writer for Sports Illustrated, wrote about the documents for the paper on Nov. 3, 2003. Three days later, Christine Brennan, longtime sportswriter for USA Today wrote an op-ed about Peyton Manning and the documents entitled, “Do you really know your sports hero?” but the scandal pretty much died right there. And don't even expect ESPN to cover this story-- it's become pretty clear that the once-respected sports network is the latest apologist for the scandal-plagued NFL.
ESPN has been running up the ratings with the feel-good story of the veteran QB winning the Super Bowl in his final season. And many other sports writers and evangelical leaders have been extolling Manning “squeaky clean” image and positioning the Broncos QB as the arbiter of all things good and decent-- but that wouldn't be the case if this story had been reported on by responsible media outlets when it occurred.
The newly reported facts of the covered-up Manning sexual assault case provide credible evidence that Peyton and the Manning family knowingly, willingly, wantonly ruined the good name and career of Dr. Jamie Naughright, a respected scholar, speaker, professor, and trainer of some of the best athletes in the world.
Only time will tell if this story is treated with the seriousness it deserves or whether Manning is allowed to retire with the dignity he probably doesn't deserve.