Al Jazeera Reporter Responds to Criticism of Doping Documentary

By Mark Joyella 

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Al Jazeera investigative reporter Deborah Davies has responded to comments from Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, calling Davies’ documentary, The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers “disgusting” and insisting reports he used performance enhancing drugs are untrue.

The documentary aired in the U.S. on Al Jazeera America Sunday night, but the network’s reporting–carried out over many months by the Al Jazeera investigative unit–hit the sports world Saturday after The Huffington Post published a story based on an advance screening of the film.

Manning told ESPN he was “furious” over the report, which included allegations Manning received drugs banned by the NFL at his home–addressed to his wife. Davies told Al Jazeera English Manning’s statement doesn’t answer some key questions raised in the film:

“And those questions are, how much growth hormone was shipped to his home in Florida, to his wife Ashley? What were the dates of those shipments? How much money was spent on that growth hormone, and growth hormone is a very, very restricted drug. There are only three very medical conditions for which it can be prescribed legally. And without wanting in any way to pry into Ashley Manning’s medical history, we would like confirmation as to whether or not one of those three very serious medical conditions is what we’re talking about here. Because if it is not, then the doctor who prescribed those drugs has actually committed a crime.”

One of the film’s key sources, Charlie Sly, has recanted the statements he made. Davies says Al Jazeera contacted Sly in early December to put all the allegations to him “and we didn’t hear anything from him until 48 hours ago,” Davies said. “Is he lying now? Was he lying during day upon day upon day of undercover filming? Because obviously the two don’t square,” said Davies.