Boston Sports Pod
All things Boston Sports with Joe and Shawn. Two long-time, hard-core fans of the Boston teams talk about what is going on with the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Celtics, Revolution, and (honorary Boston team) Liverpool FC.

     Peyton Manning is having a rough season on the field. His arm resembles a wet noodle, his passes floating to receivers, too often into the opponent's hands. He got removed from a game in which he was playing poorly. His stat line read: 5 for 20, 4 picks. Brock Osweiler replaced him during the second quarter.

At that point in the season, Manning was the worst full-time QB in the league. Digest that for a moment. The great Peyton Manning was the worst QB in the NFL, his stats rivaling those of old friend Ryan Mallet. Mallet can't throw a football into the ocean if he is standing on the beach. Peyton was hurting his team more than helping. If Brock Osweiler is a more attractive QB option, you know you've sunk to previously unseen depths. Denver attempted to cover his rear by blaming an injured foot, plantar fasciitis they said. I didn't buy it, many did not.

If the on-field problems weren't enough, now he has an off-field problem. And it's a doozy. According to an AL-Jazeera report released on December 26th, The Dark Side, during Manning's rehab from multiple neck surgeries, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) was shipped to his residence in Florida addressed to his wife, Ashley Manning. Manning came out the next day and vehemently denied the allegations. Subsequently, Charles Sly, the intern who made the allegations, recanted. Those were the basic facts as we knew them last week.

Now we have more. On Monday this week, Deborah Davies, the Al-Jazeera reporter from the story, revealed she has a confirming secondary source who is, “absolutely impeccably placed, knowledgeable, and credible.” The facts are starting to pile up.

But I'm writing this post because I'm disgusted. Disgusted by the national media converage of this story.

First, let me say that the following opinions are mine alone. My partner in the Boston Sports Pod and all around great guy, Shawn, does not necessarily agree, share them, or disagree. I do not speak for him. Don't let my likely misguided musings reflect poorly on him.  

I don't buy for a millisecond what Peyton is selling. I usually think where there's smoke there's fire, and I smell smoke. Are we supposed to believe his wife was taking the HGH? Seriously? Are we children? Does Peyton think we believe him? I'll bet the less-inquisitive minded folk he is used to hood-winking do. You know those super-fan types in Indy and Denver who still think he's better than Tom Brady.

Not that those types don't exist here in New England. There is definitely a hard-core sect who think Tom Brady walks on water and had nothing to do with some pigskin skull-duggery involving his preferred PSI. I am not one of them. I smell smoke with deflategate too. 

In fact, I have no problem, moral or otherwise, with the actual act of using HGH to

recover from an injury more quickly at age 37. I don't care if Brady had a back room deal with the locker room guys to get his footballs to his favorite PSI level. I think Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. One does what one has to. I would.

But what really runs up my . . . spine, is how unabashedly the national media protects Manning while it fails to give Brady the same benefit of the doubt. Recall that night of last season's AFC Champiobship game. After the Patriot's thrashed the Colts, the nation learned of a situation with the refs taking a ball off the field of play. Some reports of deflated footballs were issued. The Pats being the team under suspicion.

What became known as deflategate blew up from there and continued to burn through the spring and summer. I won't go into that fiasco any further except to say that Tom Brady was treated like crap. Mark Brunnel cried on TV over Brady's alleged discretion. ESPN and the national media ran Brady's name through the mud and never let up. Not an ally was to be found. Despite the faulty weakness of the Well's Report, Brady was branded a cheat. His reputation sullied, his legacy tarnished.

Now that Mr. Manning has a scandal on his hands, why is he not getting similar treatment to what befell Mr. Brady? Why is ESPN so quick to pillory Brady, Bellichick and the Patriots, and so quick to protect Peyton Manning?

On one of their round-table pundit talking spots, the ESPN “analysts,” Chris Berman, Chris Carter, Mike Ditka et. al., jumped to Peyton's defense. They uniformly believed his “vehement” denial, expressed extreme doubts about Charles Sly's credibility, even went as far as Berman uttering in disgust, “what a world . . . “ I say what a clown. I mean who couldn't believe Peyton? After all he was so angry at the allegations that he threw the ball so hard at practice he thinks he broke fingers out there! Oh, well if you put it that way . . .  

What a goober he is. He can't throw anymore! His passes are in slow- motion. He couldn't bruise a hemophiliac.

So why does the national media treat Peyton Manning differently than Tom Brady?

That is the question I came to this sheet of typing paper to ask. I don't have the answer. I'm not sure I want it, it might ruin my faith in Man! But it is so obvious, so duplicitious, I can't turn away from it without saying something. Is there an agenda at ESPN? Did Tom Brady once sleep with an exec's girl? What is it! Why do they treat Tom like a criminal and Peyton like their buddy they need to defend?

Is it as simple as human nature and ESPN is jealous of Brady's success in life? The dude has it all, no question. But by all accounts he's a good guy. He never did anything dirty; never was under any prior suspicion ; never did anything that should forfeit his reception of the benefit of the doubt that they give Peyton.

It boggles my mind and I'm as irate as anybody over this. Some may think it doesn't matter, its only the media right? Wrong! The media has huge role is settting public opinion and creating legacies. Tom Brady didn't deserve the treatment he got and it makes me sick to think his legacy, all the great play he has given us over the years, is now tainted in part because ESPN doesn't like him.

It was one thing to see and deal with the media coverage of deflategate. Its another to have ESPN's double-standard laid bare by this Peyton Manning HGH scandal.





Category:Patriots -- posted at: 10:59am EDT

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