New York Daily News reporter Shaun King has a blistering report today about Peyton Manning's smear campaign against his alleged sexual assault victim back in his days at the University of Tennessee.
The sub-headline reads: "Peyton Manning's squeaky-clean image was built on lies, as detailed in explosive court documents showing ugly smear campaign."
The reports surfaced many years ago but died on the vine as the NFL's Golden Boy was worshipped incessantly by the football-media complex.
"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," writes King. "Yet USA Today never released those documents for reasons I can't explain."
The USA Today, like so many still in the media, didn't have the balls to dare question the First Family of Football.
The details in the report are lurid:
University of Tennessee trainer (now doctor) Jamie Naughright was examining Manning's injured foot on Feb. 29, 1996 when, reports King, "Manning allegedly ... forcefully maneuvered his naked testicles and rectum directly on her face with his penis on top of her head. Shocked, disgusted, and offended, Naughright pushed Manning away, removing her head out from under him (see pages 14-15). Within hours, she reported the incident to the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Knoxville (see page 18)."
A witness corroborated Naughright's story: Manning's Tennessee teammate Malcolm Saxon, who alleges he lost his eligibility for siding against Manning. Naughright was asked to leave the university.
This scandalous story of a cover up involving one of the nation's most popular athletes never saw the light of day.
The resurfacing of this cover up comes on the heels of the more recent and also-barely reported scandal in which Manning allegedly hired two thugs to visit the home of a key witness behind the report that human growth hormones were shipped to Manning's house as he tried to recover from neck surgery. The witness was so disturbed by the intrusion that the family was forced to call the police.
While this second scandal came to light right during the NFL playoff run and into the Super Bowl, a time when pro football dominates the American news cycle, it was largely buried by the NFL and by the football-media complex that suffers under some sort of Manning spell.
Compare the kid glove treatment Manning received over two scandalous events with the non-stop onslaught of media attacks against Tom Brady when it was alleged that he committed the dastardly deed of perhaps being "generally aware" that someone might have taken air out of some footballs. These accusations were eventually proven unfounded, but literally became a federal case.
In fact, the NFL continues to go after Terrible Tommy with its appeal in its federal court loss set to be heard on March 3. As almost all fans now realize, Terrible Tommy is an innocent man.
While Brady was slaughtered on the cross of 1 or 2 PSI of air pressure that he had nothing to do with, Manning has been given every free pass in the world from the media in his career. His media allies habitually covered up not only off-the-field incidents like the allegations above, but also covered up his dismal postseason career that includes a series of some of the worst big-game performances by any QB in the history of football, a record number of postseason losses, a record number of one-and-done postseason appearances and a dismal output of just 15.4 points per game for his otherwise explosive offensive teams in their 14 playoff losses.
Blame for each of those losses should have sat clearly on the shoulders of the quarterback. But instead most in the media refused to criticize the Golden Boy. That failure to criticize even caused the Cold, Hard Football Facts to coin a new term, Spinal Manningitis, to explain the disease that renders the so-called experts spineless reporters afraid to question His Royal Majesty Manning.
Turns out Golden Boy Peyton Manning is actually the Teflon Don of football: no mis-peformance sticks, whether on the field or, more egregiously, off the field.