Major League Baseball Players Suing Al Jazeera News Over Steroid Report

Bad sources do not help TV ratings, in case you're wondering.

For several years, steroids and baseball went together like paparazzi and Justin Bieber. Add HGH and PED (that’s ‘human growth hormone’ and ‘performance enhancing drugs,’ respectively), and it’s a match made in heaven.

When a story comes out about another big-time baseball player who has been busted for steroids, HGH, or PED — and he subsequently blames it on his trainer or taking male-performance pills — no one really flinches.

Last Sunday, one such investigative report came out from Al Jazeera called, The Dark Side: The Secret World of Sports Doping.

The weasel reference for the story, Charles Sly, a pharmacist who formerly worked at an Indiana anti-aging clinic in 2011, told an Al Jazeera undercover reporter that he had supplied Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning with human growth hormones to recover from neck surgery in 2011.

Manning has denied the allegations and got a little terse on TV. And while he has threatened to sue, a couple of other athletes named in the report are suing.

Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman and Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard have filed separate reports in U.S. District Court in Washington, and accused the network of libel and invasion of privacy. At first, the players played nice and demanded a retraction about Sly’s claim they both took Delta-2, a form of HGH. It didn’t happen, so time to get litigious:

“It’s inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman. 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.”

According to the Reuters report, Sly has recanted his comments, saying “the network recorded him without his knowledge or consent.”

This should be a case study of good journalism, right?