Though Manning has vehemently denied the allegations and the source
of the Al-Jazeera report has since recanted the claims he was shown
making in the film, WADA says that it expects a careful
investigation by the relevant authorities.
The Dec. 27 investigative documentary 'The dark side: The secret
world of sports doping,' linked well known players from the National
Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) with
performance enhancing drugs.
Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Mike
Neal, who the report said have used either banned hormone supplement
Delta-2 or powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, also denied any
David Howman, director general of WADA, said he was nevertheless
taking the report seriously and took aim at the NFL.
"Al-Jazeera's allegations are very concerning, particularly as it
relates to the NFL's and MLB's testing programs," Howman said in a
While the documentary's makers and its critics have clashed over the
validity of the allegations, the report has nevertheless pushed
concerns of illegal performance enhancements in America's most
popular sports leagues into the spotlight once again.
Athletics, cycling and baseball have all suffered huge embarrassment
over doping in the past decade and Al-Jazeera's report at the very
least has highlighted long-running differences between WADA and NFL
in their anti-doping strategy.
"While the NFL and the MLB are not signatories to the World
Anti-Doping Code, in recent years WADA has been working with them
and other professional leagues in the United States to try to bring
them closer to WADA's program," Howman said.
"In particular with the NFL, we have been offering guidance to
enhance, and increase the transparency of, their testing program."
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Reuters: "Regarding Mr. Howman's
statement, we have valued our long-standing association with WADA
and look forward to continuing to work closely with the organization
to improve the effectiveness of all anti-doping programs."
PLAYERS HIT BACK AT WADA
In August 2011, the NFL became the first major U.S. professional
sports league to use blood testing for HGH, bringing the league
closer to international standards.
Though WADA welcomed the move at the time, it has since repeatedly
called for much closer liaising with the league and the NFL Players
According to WADA, the NFLPA has long been concerned that football
players could possess different threshold levels of HGH than other
athletes while the players' union has not trusted WADA over the
validity and fairness of its HGH testing.
[to top of second column]
"Any investigation by WADA should begin with an independent one into
their own practices, including the scientific basis for their tests
and governance," George Atallah, the NFLPA's assistant executive
director of external affairs, told Reuters.
"We rejected WADA participation into our drug policies precisely
because they failed to be transparent with us over these very
issues. Our union is working closely with UNI Global Union to
develop strong and fair standards for drug testing."
The Al-Jazeera report claimed that Manning took human growth hormone
following neck surgery in 2011, and on Sunday the football player
acknowledged he visited a clinic that allegedly supplied the banned
However, Manning, who missed the entire 2011 National Football
League season with a serious neck injury, strenuously denied the
claim made by the news network's report that he had used human
"As it relates to the particular allegations by Al-Jazeera, WADA
expects that they will be carefully investigated by the relevant
authorities and that, if warranted, necessary and appropriate steps
would be taken," said Howman.
The NFL collective bargaining agreement, ratified in 2011, banned
human growth hormone but players were not tested for the banned
substance until 2014. No NFL player has tested positive for HGH.
Major League Baseball said it would investigate allegations made in
the documentary that several of its players took banned hormone
Among those baseball players named in the Al-Jazeera report by
Charlie Sly as having received supplies of Delta-2 were Ryan Howard
of the Philadelphia Phillies and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington
A lawyer for Howard and Zimmerman denied the claims.
In a follow-up email to Al-Jazeera, Sly said that when he was
speaking on camera, he was "in no state of mind to be making any
coherent statements as I was grieving the death of my fiance."
[© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2015 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.