PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A controversial documentary on doping in sports links Phillies first-baseman Ryan Howard to performance enhancing drugs. The long-time Phillie joins other big names, including Peyton Manning, in denying the allegations made in the Al Jazeera documentary, “The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers,” which was released online on Sunday.
The Phillies organization and an attorney for Howard have each released statements in response to the report.
Howard’s attorney, William Burck, also represents Washington Nationals third-baseman Ryan Zimmerman. In a statement, he says the players are threatening a lawsuit against the Al-Jazeera news agency and others accountable for the report.
“It’s inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman,” the statement reads. “The extraordinarily reckless claims made against our clients in this report are completely false and rely on a source who has already recanted his claims. We will go to court to hold Al Jazeera and other responsible parties accountable for smearing our clients’ good names.”
In the documentary, the allegations are made in a secretly recorded interview with Charlie Sly, a former employee with The Guyer Institute, an Indiana anti-aging clinic.
In the piece, Sly alleges Howard, Manning, Zimmerman and other athletes used Human Growth Hormone or HGH.
Sly says Howard noticed more explosiveness and said, quote, “he had a couple years where he had a ton of home runs.”
The Phillies, in a statement, defend Howard’s character and say they’ll cooperate with a Major League Baseball investigation.
“Ryan Howard has vigorously denied the allegations contained in (Sunday night’s) airing of Al Jazeera’s report titled ‘The Dark Side.’ Ryan has spent his whole career with the Phillies and, during that entire time, has been an extremely well respected member of our team and an outstanding contributor to our community,” the statement reads. “We will fully cooperate with any investigation conducted by Major League Baseball and will refer all further questions to them concerning the Al Jazeera report.”
The other athletes named also deny the report.
And, Sly, the source of the information, actually has recanted his story in a YouTube video, calling his own statements absolutely false and incorrect, and he didn’t know he was being recorded.