Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard are suing Al Jazeera America for defamation after a report linked them to a doping ring.
In December, an investigative report from the outlet implicated several athletes in a performance-enhancing drug trade. Among them were Zimmerman and Howard, who were alleged to have bought and used the drug Delta-2, a hormone supplement, and human growth hormone from an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic.
Al Jazeera’s main source in the report, former pharmaceutical intern Charlie Sly, has since recanted his story used in the investigation.
In the court filing Tuesday, Zimmerman denied ever taking PEDs:
All of these statements concerning Mr. Zimmerman are categorically untrue. Mr. Zimmerman has never taken Delta 2, human growth hormone, or any other steroid or other performance-enhancing substance banned by the MLB. Mr. Zimmerman has not known Charles David Sly for six years, and Charles David Sly has not gotten “[Mr. Zimmerman] to change some stuff.” Mr. Zimmerman has never received any banned substances from Charles David Sly and has never “been coached [by Charles David Sly] on what to take and how to avoid testing positive.”
Howard released a statement on Tuesday, calling the allegations ‘lies.’
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a strong denial from their attorney.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who was also named in the report, has strongly denied the allegations. NFL players Clay Matthews, Mike Neal, Julius Peppers and James Harrison are among the other athletes named in the report.
- Kenny Ducey