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Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Media Hypocrisy

Peyton Manning potentially cheated? Nothing to see here.

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Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, a report recently came out that may potentially link Peyton Manning to receiving and using the recently banned substance HGH.

And I use the phrase "in case you missed it" with all sincerity, as it's all pretty much over and the world has pretty much moved on. Manning made his statement, people accepted it, and that was that.

As it should be, in my opinion. At this point there is no evidence other than a report, Manning is on record denying it, and honestly, even if he has been using HGH, who cares? It was only banned recently, and anybody who thinks this league isn't overrun with players taking all kinds of illegal substances in order to help their battered bodies heal faster probably also thinks that Santa ate all those cookies by himself a few nights ago.

I mean come on - of course he had help with that. Nobody can eat that many cookies all by himself. Believe me - I've tried.

The bottom line is, if you cheer for a sport in which murderers, rapists, child beaters, wife beaters, drug dealers, and overall degenerates literally beat each other to death as rich, corrupt white billionaires continue to line their pockets with money blue-collar working stiffs can't afford to spend, then you really don't have any kind of moral ground to stand on when you express outrage over a guy trying to milk the few years where he can actually earn a living and take care of his family for all it's worth by taking a few pills here and there. So for the media to come to Manning's defense here is the right thing to do, at least at this juncture.

I just think it's...interesting, I guess...that the EXACT people who are, even now, still questioning Tom Brady (who made a very similar denial to Manning's, only his was under oath in a court of law) and harping on how much Deflategate tarnished his legacy, are the same ones who couldn't rush to the microphones fast enough to back Manning up and show their support. Manning says he didn't do it, so that's good enough for them. Nothing to see here, move right along. All we have right now is hearsay, and the future Hall of Famer says it's garbage, and nothing he has done in his past has given anyone any reason to doubt his honesty.

For the record, this is exactly how these pundits should be behaving. Manning has an entire career of being honest, forthright, and an overall standup guy backing up his declaration that he hasn't been using HGH, so I'm glad to see them take him at his word - he certainly deserves it. I just also happen to know another quarterback who has also been nothing but honest, open, and forthright with the media since his very first presser. And that same QB, oddly enough, hasn't gotten even an iota of the same treatment from the very ones who may as well be throwing elbows at each other to be the first one to go on record supporting Manning.

Didn't see that coming. Nope, not for a second.

I've heard the argument that past indiscretion gives precedent for current suspicion - an argument I'd buy if, at any point, Tommy B had ever been accused of anything shady or illegal prior to Deflategate. Spygate, the one and only event that has somehow come to represent a decades-long history of cheating, deception, and disgraceful oneupmaship that will forever taint everything the Patriots have ever done or ever will do, was placed directly on the shoulders of Bill Belichick. Even Belichick's most vehement critics asserted that none of the actual players had anything to do with the illegal taping. They may have benefited from it (as much as one can benefit from having a camera in the non-camera having area), but in terms of actual knowledge and participation, they were all squeaky clean. So to say that Brady has a history isn't correct. Plus, if you want to point to the front office's indiscretions as some sort of smoking gun for the quarterback who plays under it, you can just as easily make the exact same case for Manning. After all, who knows more about illegal substances than Jim Irsay?

Again, this has nothing to do with Peyton Manning. I'm a fan of his, and I for one am glad this is quickly becoming a non-story, because that's the way it should be. But let's call a spade a spade here. The mainstream media chooses which narratives will help them get clicks and pageviews, and "Tom Brady the cheater" makes way more people happy than "Peyton Manning the cheater," so that's the way they'll spin this. Maybe Manning is taking HGH, maybe he isn't. Who knows, and who cares. It does nothing to tarnish his legacy, nor will it make me cheer any less hard when he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame in a few years. But to those of you giving Patriots fans guff for being a little miffed over how this whole thing is being handled, I just hope they understand that what Manning did or didn't do has absolutely nothing to do with it. It's more the blatant media hypocrisy on full display here, and the fact that nobody is even bothering to hide it.