TIME FOR MANNING TO APOLOGIZE IS NOW
Retiring QB can start polishing stained name
By retiring after winning his second Super Bowl title, Peyton Manning ensured that his legacy on the field would remain impeccably intact.
He can use his retirement news conference Monday to help preserve the reputation he so carefully crafted off the field, too.
Manning has been conspicuously silent since allegations resurfaced about an icky incident 20 years ago with then- Tennessee trainer Jamie Naughright. That, coupled with revelations human growth hormone was shipped to his house while he was trying to recover from a career- threatening neck injury, have left many to wonder what he was selling with all those commercials for pizza, cars and insurance.
Was the five- time NFL MVP’s squeakyclean, Dudley Do- Right persona the makings of the consummate pitchman? Or the cover for a con man? Only Manning knows for sure. It’s unlikely it will ever be clear what happened in that training room in 1996. Naughright maintains she was the victim of sexual assault, accusing Manning of
pressing his genitals and buttocks against her face while she was examining his ankle.
Manning said then and again in a 2002 deposition that he was merely mooning another Tennessee athlete and never made contact with Naughright. In fact, he didn’t realize she’d seen him expose his back side.
Both have witnesses to support their stories.
But if Manning wants his next career to be anywhere near as lucrative as the one coming to an end, he’s going to have to address the allegations.
Apologizing for the actions of an immature 19- year- old during his news conference would be a good place to start.
An apology is not an admission of anything.
Even if what transpired was as innocent as Manning claims, though, it was crass and juvenile, and it’s a good bet he cringes when he thinks about it now.
We all do things when we’re young and think we know it all that we come to regret with the perspective of age and experience, and that’s all Manning has to say.
He has to say something, however. Otherwise, he risks leaving not only those nearly 72,000 yards passing, 539 touchdown passes and two Super Bowl championships, but a handful of question marks, too.
Quarterback Peyton Manning is expected to announce the end of his record- setting NFL careerMonday.