Peyton Manning has to be one of the most highly respected quarterbacks in the game today. At the University of Tennessee, Manning had a 3.61 GPA and graduated in three years with a bachelor’s degree in speech communications, while winning 39 of the 45 games he started as a quarterback for the football team.
Winning is what he has done a lot of in his career since entering the NFL, the most recent of those wins being Super Bowl 50 over a Carolina team that favored picked to win.
Many think that Manning will retire, and that there was no better way for the 39-year-old quarterback to go out. If this was the end of his phenomenal career, the way he ended it was picture perfect.
Shortly after, that picture was shattered.
On Feb. 29, 1996 an incident between Manning and his trainer at the University of Tennessee Jamie Naughright was put out into the news on Feb. 13, when the New York Daily published a story based on a court document that was based off of Naughright’s side of the story. The actual lawsuit was filed on Feb. 9.
According to Naughright, Manning pulled down his shorts and placed his naked buttocks and genitals on her face. Manning’s version, he mooned a classmate in Naughright’s presence.
Two very different stories make you wonder what really happened. Did Manning actually commit this act of sexual assault, or is it more of just Naughright looking to get money out of the Manning family?
You might lean towards Manning because you would never think the five time MVP of the NFL and two-time Super Bowl champion would do anything like this.
What many don’t know is, this isn’t the first time something has been filed between Manning and Naughright.
The case released Feb. 13 was named, “The Second Manning Incident.”
The first one, in Naughright’s case, happened in the fall of 1994, when Naughright’s lawyers wrote in a detailed and sealed section named, “Peyton Manning’s Motive & Malice.”
“In the fall of 1994, an incident occurred involving Peyton Manning which will not only explain the genesis for Peyton Manning’s dislike for Dr. Naughright, but will be relevant to understanding the 1996 incident,” Naughright’s lawyer wrote in his file.
In the fall of 1994, Manning, 19, was still a freshman at the University of Tennessee. Naughright was a 26-year-old trainer and a doctoral student.
This case is still uncertain, and in all seriousness the truth of the case may never come out. In 2002, Naughright and Manning both agreed to a defamation case. All of the papers and files were returned to the lawyers and sealed. Due to the fact that the courts do not have the original transcripts of anything that was sealed, no court can unseal them.
Naughright, now 47, hasn’t spoken publicly since the new story was posted.
With all of this going on, and the fact that Manning was also accused of using a performance enhancing drug that was banned by the NFL in a report that he called “garbage” earlier this season, it makes you wonder if he is really the “picture perfect” quarterback many see him as.
You can’t deny the games he won, going 186-79 in his career, and the records he broke. Manning had a 65.3 career completion percentage, and threw 539 touchdowns and just 251 interceptions over his career, but did he do it using something banned by the NFL? Is this something that we can just overlook since Manning denied it, or should you look into it deeper and not just take his word for it?
The way I see it, more people just look at whatever Manning denies to be correct because of his football career, but just because he was a winner in the NFL, doesn’t mean his life outside of it is automatically perfect. You can take a deeper look and find many flaws throughout Manning’s life, just like any other person.
What Naughright said in her side of the story could very well be true, and this one shouldn’t just get blown over and looked past.
Just as much as Manning’s great career can’t be denied, you also can’t deny the fact that he may have done some things that were illegal during his college and pro career.
For now, we don’t know the truth, and if we never do, there is always one question that will linger.
Who is Peyton Manning and what do we think of him now? Is he the person that we see on the field every Sunday in the fall, or just a person running away from issues that need to be looked at in more detail?