Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman cleared in Al Jazeera PED investigation
Major League Baseball has found no evidence of PED use by Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard or Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman after the two players were implicated in an Al Jazeera documentary on doping in sports.
"[MLB] did not find any violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by either Howard or Zimmerman," the league said in a statement on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
An investigative report Al Jazeera published in December alleged that Zimmerman and Howard 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.
Zimmerman and Howard both denied using PEDs and have sued Al Jazeera for defamation.
Zimmerman released a statement addressing MLB's announcement on Friday.
"I understand why Major League Baseball found it necessary to explore this matter, and I appreciate that MLB, after a thorough investigation, was able to publicly affirm my innocence. Throughout my life and career, I have been true to myself, my family, the Nationals organization and my community. It is not right that a so-called news organization and its personnel can publicly make false accusations that damage my reputation and call into question my integrity without any consequences whatsoever. As I said in January when I filed my lawsuit, I am determined to hold Al Jazeera and its reporters accountable for their defamatory actions."
Howard echoed Zimmerman's intention to hold Al Jazeera accountable in his own statement.
"The accusations from Al Jazeera came out of nowhere, and I was shocked and outraged by their false claims. I welcomed the investigation by Major League Baseball as an opportunity to clear my name. I was fully cooperative and transparent in the process, and MLB's findings validate what I have said publicly. I am glad that this part of the process has concluded, and I look forward to holding the responsible people accountable for these false and defamatory claims in my ongoing litigation against Al Jazeera and its reporters."
The NFL is continuing to investigate the football players mentioned in the documentary, and has scheduled interviews with Packers' Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers and the Steelers’ James Harrison. Free agent Mike Neal has yet to set up his interview.