The NFL released a statement today stating that, after a lengthy investigation, Peyton Manning has been cleared of any wrongdoing involving a potential HGH scandal that surfaced late last year.
I, for one, am extremely happy to see that Manning has been cleared here, and I say that without an ounce of sarcasm. I have all the respect in the world for Peyton Manning and would hate to see him dragged through the mud based on some shoddy reporting and circumstantial evidence. Yes, there was a shipment of HGH sent to Manning's house, but that absolutely could have been for his wife. Manning denies it, and he has never had a history of lying to the media, so it would be insane of me to just jump to a guilty verdict based on Manning's history of being on the level. And again, this isn't me being sarcastic here; genuinely happy that Peyton Manning has been cleared. We don't need another all-time great dealing with a bunch of nonsense.
The biggest surprise to me in regards to this whole thing? That there was actually an investigation taking place. I had completely forgotten about this whole thing altogether. Over the last seven months, I haven't heard a word about anything the NFL was doing. They apparently did their due diligence quietly, behind the scenes, and kept everything close to the vest. They didn't allow any aspects of the investigation to leak out, nor did they craft a media narrative with false facts and the failure to report inaccuracies. TMZ never touched this story at all. It never took the national spotlight. There was little to no attention paid, and now that it's over it has already been forgotten. This is the kind of investigation that I didn't think that the NFL was capable of, based on pretty much anything that has ever happened over on Park Avenue over the past 10 years. So congrats, NFL. I didn't think you had it in you.
Would it have been nice if Tom Brady had gotten a tenth of this level of discretion? It sure would have. But what can you do. The damage is done at this point, and it's irreparable. Instead of getting angry over the fact that the NFL took measured strides to ensure that Brady looked guilty in the eyes of the public while conducting the Manning probe with a level of prudence and confidentiality I didn't even think was possible anymore in the NFL, I'm instead going to try and stay optimistic in my knowledge that the league can, if it chooses, change a roll of toilet paper without holding a press conference to ensure that their decision to switch to two-ply helps uphold the integrity of the shield. They can examine player discipline without any false leaks. They don't need to botch, bungle, and bastardize everything they do. There was a Hall of Fame Player, legend of the game, league spokesman, and overall ambassador of goodwill potentially under fire, and the league made sure that it didn't put any weight in such a flimsy case. Good for them.
Or maybe they just want to preserve the Manning family legacy and swept this whole thing under the rug while making sure everyone kept paying attention to the Patriots. What do I know.