Less than a week after winning the Super Bowl in what could be the final game of his 18-year NFL career, an alleged incident from Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s past was brought to light in great detail Saturday.
The New York Daily News’ Shaun King published a 5,000-word story explaining sexual assault allegations made against Manning by athletic trainer Dr. Jamie Naughright while he was at the University of Tennessee in 1996. The story stems from a 74-page court document, and those documents were already written about (in far less detail and not fully released) by USA Today in 2003.
King’s story goes on to allege a cover-up by the school and then Manning’s family, but the most explosive part — the one that stirred social-media attention Saturday — was the description of the initial allegation from the court documents:
On Feb. 29 of that year, Naughright, at that point the university’s director of health and wellness, was in a training room, examining what she thought might be a possible stress fracture in Manning’s foot. At 6 feet, 5 inches, his feet dangled off the edge of the table. Manning allegedly then proceeded to scoot down the training table while Naughright examined his foot. At that point, she said, he forcefully maneuvered his naked testicles and rectum directly on her face with his penis on top of her head. Shocked, disgusted, and offended, Naughright pushed Manning away, removing her head out from under him. Within hours, she reported the incident to the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Knoxville.
The Broncos, contacted by FOXSports.com on Saturday, have denied comment on the story, which – to be fair – was based almost entirely on old documents prepared by the alleged victim’s lawyers.
Manning reportedly denied the incident immediately, and the alleged victim’s superior, Mike Rollo, said it was an accident that came about as a result of Manning mooning teammate Malcolm Saxon, who was in the training room at the same time. According to the story, Saxon refuted that version of the incident and wrote a letter to Manning imploring him to come clean.
Naughright agreed to leave the university shortly afterward as part of a settlement, and she and Manning reportedly signed the confidentiality agreement that she claims Manning and his father Archie violated in the 2001 book "The Mannings." According to King, unflattering comments about her behavior on the job written in that book led to her losing her job at Florida Southern College and caused her to file a 2003 defamation lawsuit that was later settled.
Manning, 39, is also being investigated by the NFL and the U.S. Anti-Doping agency for an alleged link to an Indianapolis clinic that deals in HGH. Manning has called the December Al-Jazeera America report that tied him to the clinic "garbage from the first day it came out."