Papa John’s Stands Behind Spokesman Peyton Manning Amid Doping Allegations

Nationwide said to be 'monitoring' accusations

Papa John's pizza is the first of star quarterback Peyton Manning's sponsors to publicly throw support behind the Denver Broncos player after doping allegations surfaced last weekend.

Manning, who owns multiple Papa John's locations and frequently appears in the chain's ads, is one of the NFL's most popular pitchmen and also fronts for marketers like DirecTV and Nationwide.

"Papa John's is aware of the speculation. During the course of our relationship, Peyton has represented himself, the game of football and Papa John's with the utmost honor and integrity," a company statement said. "Furthermore he has been a trusted friend. It is a shame for all his hard work, to have one of the greatest comebacks against all odds, that he has to deal with these allegations."

Papa John's is a big NFL endorsement partner, acting as the "official pizza" for the Broncos and other NFL teams as well as being a Super Bowl sponsor. 

Peyton, who owns 21 of the pizza chain's franchises around Denver and has been a company spokesman since 2011, has denied the claims made in a documentary from Al Jazeera. On Sunday, the TV network reported Manning received the performance-enhancing drug HGH from an Indianapolis clinic that concealed the shipment by sending it to the quarterback's wife.

DirecTV and Nationwide did not respond to Adweek requests for comment about Manning, although it's been reported that Nationwide said it was "monitoring the situation."

Manning usually appears in Papa John's TV advertising alongside the chain's founder, CEO John Schnatter.