A Texas-based pharmacist, Charlie Sly, is accused in an upcoming Al Jazeera investigation of providing human growth hormone to several pro athletes, including Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
British hurdler Liam Collins went undercover for the documentary in an effort to expose “the widespread nature of performance-enhancing drugs in global sports,” according to the Huffington Post. The news site was able to view the documentary before it is scheduled to air Sunday.
In Sly’s conversations with Collins, which were secretly recorded, the pharmacist says he as part of a medical team that helped Manning recover from neck surgeries in 2011.
The documentary, The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers, is set to air Sunday night at 9 p.m. Eastern on Al Jazeera America.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sly Says the Growth Hormones Were Mailed to Manning’s Wife
Sly worked at The Guyer Institute, an Indiana-based anti-aging clinic where Manning received treatments in 2011. Although the documentary claims Sly worked there in 2011, he told ESPN he was actually an employee of the clinic in 2013.
An online record shows Sly was licensed as a pharmacy intern from 2010 to 2013 in Indiana.
Manning missed the 2011 season, his final year with the Indianapolis Colts, because of the neck surgery. In the conversations recorded by Collins, Sly tells the hurdler he was part of the medical team that treated Manning, the Huffington Post reports, though Sly has now denied that. He also says the clinic mailed growth hormone and other drugs to Manning’s wife, Ashley, so that his name wasn’t attached.
“All the time we would be sending Ashley Manning drugs,” Sly told Collins, according to the Huffington Post, which viewed the documentary. “Like growth hormone, all the time, everywhere, Florida. And it would never be under Peyton’s name, it would always be under her name.”
Manning’s agent denied the allegations against the quarterback, but would not comment about whether Ashley Manning received the growth hormones.
His agent told Al Jazeera he “has never done what this person is suggesting. 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,” according to the Huffington Post.
Manning told ESPN, “Yes, I have been a patient under Dr. Guyer. I have had nutrient therapy, oxygen therapy and other treatments that are holistic in nature but never HGH.”
The agent said of Peyton Manning’s wife, “any medical treatment received by Ashley is a private matter of hers, her doctor, and her family.”
The clinic and Dr. Guyer have not commented.
2. He Obtained Drugs for Collins, According to Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera says Sly was able to obtain growth hormone drugs for Liam Collins, the hurdler who went undercover for the news network.
The network says they kept the drugs as evidence, according to the Huffington Post.
Ari Fleischer, an adviser to Manning and a former White House press secretary, attacked the Al Jeezera report, calling it “junk journalism” in an interview with the Denver Post.
He said Sly worked as an intern for Guyer in 2013.
“There’s no truth to it,” Fleischer said. “What they have is a well-known con man from England who secretly recorded a former intern.”
3. He Was Recorded Saying He Gave Hormones to Other Athletes
According to the Huffington Post, the Al Jazeera documentary also shows Charlie Sly talking about giving growth hormones and other drugs to a variety of other athletes.
Sly says Green Bay Packers linebacker Mike Neal, Packers defensive end Julius Peppers and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrisonw ere supplied Delta-2, a hormone supplement that is similar to steroids, the Huffington Post reports.
He also said he supplied the drug to Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Hoard, Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and retired boxer Mike Tyson.
Harrison, Zimmerman and Howard denied using the drugs, while Neal, Peppers and Tyson did not comment to Al Jazeera.
4. Sly Claims There Is ‘No Truth’ to Any of the Statements He Made in the Recordings
Sly responded to the allegations in a video posted to YouTube by the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim:
It has come to my attention that the broadcaster Al Jazeera has somehow obtained recordings or communications of me making statements concerning a number of athletes and that Al Jazeera plans to air a program about them. Any recordings of me were made without my knowledge or consent. It is my belief that an individual named Liam Collins secretly made those recordings. Liam is a reputed fraudster who is banned in his native United Kingdom from running any investment businesses. The statements on any recordings or communications that Al Jazeera plans to air are absolutely false and incorrect. To be clear, I am recanting any such statements and there is no truth to any statement of mine that Al Jazeera plans to air. Under no circumstances should any of those statements, recordings or communications be aired.
Sly later told ESPN that Collins took advantage of him during a vulnerable time in his life, after his fiance died.
“When I realized Al Jazeera was using a secret taping and Collins as a so-called investigative reporter, I was baffled,” he told ESPN. “I cannot believe that can happen. That’s why I recanted the story. It wasn’t true and I was trying to pull one over on Collins to see if he had any idea of what he was talking about.”
He said Collins approached him about getting into the supplement business and he dropped “names like Peyton Manning, Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard and James Harrison,” to test him. He said they were not his clients.
“I was trying to determine whether this guy (Collins) was legitimate or just trying to steal some knowledge about the business,” Sly told ESPN.
5.The NFL Banned HGH in 2011, But Did Not Begin Testing for it Until 2014
The league has not yet commented on the upcoming documentary.
Major League Baseball has also banned the use of HGH and began testing for the drug in 2013.