According to ESPN, Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard have filed a lawsuit against news outlet Al Jazeera over allegations that the duo of All-Stars were part of a group of athletes receiving performance-enhancing drugs from an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic. Zimmerman and Howard’s attorney had made it clear from the beginning of the allegations that legal action would soon follow.
Zimmerman is seeking punitive damages for the statements in the Arabic news station’s report titled “The Dark Side.” He claimed the report contained false statements, was inaccurate, and reckless. Howard’s suit was not immediately available, but the Philadelphia first baseman has called the station’s reporting “irresponsible.”
The man at the center of the scandal, Charles Sly, has already recanted his story while also making it clear that the statements and information attributed to him in the report are false. Zimmerman’s lawsuit alleges that Sly had already recanted prior to the report’s airing on December 28. Sly has since put out his own YouTube video denying the report. Despite this fact, Al Jazeera proceeded with the story. Zimmerman’s attorneys claim that the report was aired in an effort to stir up controversy and increase sagging ratings. The Al Jazeera network has been but a blip in the ratings since launching on American cable networks.
In addition to Zimmerman and Howard, NFL players such as Peyton Manning, Julius Peppers, James Harrison, and Clay Matthews were also allegedly recipients of an HGH-like drug from Sly called Delta-2. Nearly all of the athletes named by Sly to an undercover reporter, British track star Liam Collins, are clients of Florida-based fitness trainer/businessman Jason Riley.
Manning may also file suit upon the conclusion of the NFL postseason. Al Jazeera’s reporter, Deborah Davies continues to stand by her report.