Steroids and HGH have been around in major professional sports since the dawn of time. Whether or not you believe that they should be legal or illegal is irrelevant because at this time, they are illegal. With that said, it is only natural that if a high profile player breaks a rule in the NFL that there would be an investigation and people would be talking about it. We saw this firsthand last summer as we lived through the ridiculous deflate-gate controversy and the endless hours of media coverage and debates. Tom Brady’s life was put under a microscope just because of the suggestion that he MIGHT have known about deflated footballs in ONE half of the AFC Championship game. If all of this happened to Brady over some deflated footballs, then shouldn’t Peyton Manning be getting torn apart for his alleged involvement with HGH? Apparently the media doesn’t think so.
Let’s start by me stating the fact that I am and always will be biased towards Brady and the Patriots. I dislike Peyton Manning with a passion, but will try to work through this scenario with as neutral a perspective as I can. Anyway, no matter what side you’re on regarding this topic, you have to see the discrepancy here. Brady’s alleged crime was much less severe than Manning’s and it had much less of an effect on the game of football. It is claimed that Brady knew about the deflated footballs for ONE HALF of the AFC championship game. At the half, it is said that the balls were switched back to normal and the Patriots proceeded to blow out the Colts and even perform better than they did in the first half. Manning is alleged to have used HGH to rehab from his serious neck injury. This means that he put an illegal substance in his body in order to make himself a better football player than he was at that time. Therefore, he affected every single game that he played after he started using HGH. It seems to be very clear that Manning’s alleged crime is much worse than Brady’s.
Now, it would be one thing if Manning got as much, if not more attention and media coverage than Brady did, but this is not the case. The news broke about Manning a week or two ago. Since then, we endured one day of media coverage on SportsCenter and other news sources and then it was over. The reporters were more interested in talking about the fact that Peyton is coming back to play in the playoffs than the fact that he was accused of using a banned substance. I realize that this is usually the point in the conversation where the Manning fans step in and say something along the lines of “Well the guy who started the rumors has said that they were false, so it was all a scam anyway.” I have two responses to this point. Number one is that this guy is clearly not a reliable source. You have to question the sanity of anyone who will spread a rumor of this caliber and then retract it only days later. I see no reason why he would just make something like this up out of nowhere. There had to be at least something that gave him the idea that this information should be leaked to the public. My second response goes back to him retracting his story. No one has a change of heart that quickly. I am a believer that he was paid off to say that the story was invalid. Why else would he just randomly make himself look bad in the national spotlight? Now I have no ideas on who might have paid him or anything like that, but it’s definitely something to think about.
I would like to also point out that if roles were reversed and this was Brady who was the topic of HGH rumors, we would have deflate-gate part 2 on our hands. Even if the person who started the rumor retracted it a few days later, people would still want to believe that Brady was at fault. This leads me to why I believe that the media has stopped covering the Manning case. Peyton Manning is more profitable for the NFL and the media than Tom Brady. That is a simple fact. Nobody outside of New England likes Tom Brady. They have these ill-informed opinions that he is a cheater and doesn’t play the game the right way. What they are really mad about is that he is so damn good, but that’s an argument for another day. Anyway, Manning has been the poster boy of the NFL for years. He has never been involved in a scandal (until now) and even people who aren’t Broncos or Colts fans have respect for Peyton Manning.
Now look at it from the media’s perspective. They have two options with the Manning story. They can frame him as a villain and cause people to lose respect for Peyton, or they can push all of that HGH stuff under the rug and focus on this great comeback story of the once-great QB who is returning to lead his team into the playoffs. The second option appeals better to the audience. People love that kind of stuff. Essentially what the media is doing is only showing the people parts of the story in order to influence how we feel about it particular person. While this is not a new occurrence from the media, it is worth noting how they will frame a story from different angles based on the person who is involved.
Another crucial player in this game is the NFL itself. If you watched any of the Deflate-gate coverage this past summer, you saw the mini-war going on between Roger Goodell and Tom Brady. It is widely believed that Goodell does not like the Patriots or Brady, because they always win and it doesn’t look good for the league. It was also apparent this past summer that Goodell was trying everything that he could to see Brady go down. He tried to suspend him on multiple occasions and led full on investigations into what Brady did or didn’t know about the PSI of some footballs. Fine, if Goodell wants to run this tight ship in the NFL I’m all for it, just be consistent. If he’s going to investigate so much into the Brady case, then there is a reasonable expectation that he will do the same if another player is caught doing something wrong. Now I am sure that there is at least some type of investigation going on into the Manning situation, but it is not nearly as public as it was with Brady. What does this say about the NFL? What does it say about Roger Goodell? I’m not sitting here trying to explain whythe NFL is out to get Tom Brady. I think its fine if they (the NFL) want to investigate and publicize the alleged wrongdoings of their players. I am just asking for them to keep things consistent. Don’t make stuff up on the go.
I would love to hear opinions from other fans regarding this topic. Feel free to comment below or tweet me @bkropp20.
Editors Note: As of moments ago – Al-Jazeera network has announced that they are shutting down their American branch. Although too soon to know what this means for Peyton Manning, it should be an interesting storyline to follow.
NEWS: Al Jazeera America is SHUTTING DOWN
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) January 13, 2016