Opinion Sports Columns

Breaking Down the Peyton Manning Situation

Alex Thomas
Staff Writer

A week and a half ago, Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset after winning his second Super Bowl and first as a member of the Denver Broncos. For a player that had one of the best careers of all time and for a guy that will certainly be a firstballot Hall of Famer, it was without a doubt a storybook ending.

Manning’s storybook has quickly become a nightmare, however, as some serious allegations from 20 years ago have come to life. Demons from Manning’s college days have risen and they are quite damning. Before we go any further, something needs to be said. Yes, I’m a New England Patriots fan and that probably will make people roll their eyes at what I’m about to write. However, this is more important than what football team I root for.

I’ve always respected Peyton Manning as a football player, he’s one of the best ever and he’ll certainly be a Hall of Famer in short order. I’ve always thought he handled both winning and losing with class and that he was a good professional football player. Football, however, is not life, and Manning made a major mistake years ago which has brewed hypocrisy from sports fans and media alike.

In 1996, according to a Deadspin article among many other sources, Jamie Whited filed an employment discrimination complaint to the University of Tennessee. Whited was an associate trainer for the football team, the one which was quarterbacked by Peyton Manning and which had National Championship aspirations that coming season.

Whited filed 27 complaints according to the report, one of which was against an unnamed athlete who would later be revealed as none other than Peyton Manning. The complaint read the following, “An unnamed athlete (Manning) pulled his pants down and exposed himself to me, as I was bent over examining his foot after asking me several questions.”

Nothing happened to Manning or any of the other athletes as the University of Tennessee scrambled to protect its highprofiled student athletes.

This kind of issue again highlights the problems of that are faced in sports. College athletics are a business, whether or not the NCAA wants to admit it. Whether it is Florida State protecting Jameis Winston through his rape investigation, Tennessee protecting Manning through this whole scandal or any of the other countless acts to protect these athletes; it’s all wrong.

But here’s the even bigger problem, people in the media and sports fans are scoffing at this, they aren’t thinking twice and some are even blaming the victim here. Funny, because these are all the same people who bashed (rightfully) Patrick Kane when his sexual assault issue came out late in the summer of 2015 or who bashed (again, rightfully) Jameis Winston when everything hit the fan with him. We all had a problem with Ray Rice and with Gregg Hardy, but we’re all okay with this?

Because it’s Peyton Manning and he was a helluva QB, good SNL host, and seemed like a good guy when talking to the media, we’re going to give him a free pass? How does this not seem insane?

There are some in the media, as I mentioned, who actually turned the attention on the victim. Sad excuse for a journalism and renown troll artist, Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, actually questioned why this was a story because it’s been twenty years. He tweeted that if these allegations were so serious, why wait? You’d expect better from someone who is supposed to seek the truth and report it, but really who is surprised by this?

There is an issue in professional and college athletics; we fall in love with athletes and we want to believe that these people are superheroes who kids should always look up to. Sorry folks, but that isn’t true, heck it’s never been true. Whether it’s Kane, Winston or Manning, some of these “role models” have some real dark stories from the past that simply aren’t good.

This Peyton Manning story should make you mad, it should make you question what you’ve thought about Manning the person, it should make you think twice. Protecting him because you liked what he did for your favorite team or your fantasy team is absurd, and you should be ashamed for that.

This story isn’t new, it’s been out since Manning’s college days, but just now it has caught up to him. Legacy? Off the field there is no Manning legacy other than lies, sexual harassment and the protection of another desperate college.

Let’s not be hypocrites people, this situation shouldn’t be treated any differently than those before

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