Phillies Ryan Howard Sues Al Jazeera

Aug 12, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Phillies longtime iconic star first baseman has filed a law suit against Al Jazeera.

The suit filed by Ryan Howard was expected, and is being filed against Al Jazeera, their reporter Deborah Davies, and their “undercover” mole for the story, British hurdler Liam Collins.

The law suit is in response to a recent documentary broadcast by the media entity titled “The Dark Side” (full broadcast below), which covered the topic of athletes using prohibited substances in order to recover from injuries and/or enhance performance.

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The documentary claimed that Howard and other high-profile professional athletes, including fellow baseball player Ryan Zimmerman, football players Peyton Manning and James Harrison, boxer Mike Tyson, and numerous others used performance enhancing drugs. Zimmerman has also filed suit in the matter.

In gathering material used in the documentary, Collins posed as someone wanting to utilize and possibly get into the business of distributing PED’s, and secretly recorded Charlie Sly, a Texas-based pharmacist working as an unpaid intern at The Guyer Institute.

Guyer is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and was founded by Dr. Dale Guyer. Their website claims “In his busy clinical practice he incorporates Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement, innovative strategies of Anti-Aging Medicine, Chelation Therapy, and specializes in the treatment of Complex Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia cases.

Sly came out publicly against the Al Jazeera reporting prior to the broadcast of the documentary. He claims that he fed Collins outrageous information using some big name athletes in order to test him.

The below retraction was released by Sly, stating in part “Any recordings of me were made without my knowledge or consent. It is my belief that an individual named Liam Collins secretly made those recordings. Liam is a recruited fraudster who is banned in his native United Kingdom from running any investment businesses. The statements on any recordings or communications that Al Jazeera plans to air are absolutely false and incorrect.”

As we reported here at TBOH as the story broke, William Burck, attorney for both Howard and Zimmerman, stated in part “It’s inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman.”

Now in actually filing the law suit, Howard stated the following per’s Todd Zolecki: “Their irresponsible reporting forced me to take this action to protect my name and to fight back against the spreading of these lies.”

Zolecki’s piece futher pulls directly from the lawsuit, which states per Zolecki that Howard’s image and reputation have been damaged “by false and unsubstantiated allegations of performance-enhancing drug use, based on uncorroborated accusations by a third party that had been unequivocally recanted prior to Defendants’ publication.

Per a report from Michael Powell in the New York Times, Manning spokesperson Ari Fleischer, former Press Secretary under President George W. Bush, is stating that “Al Jazeera is backtracking and retreating” on their story.

The onus will be on Howard and Zimmerman, and any other athlete named in the documentary who may choose to also file a lawsuit, to prove their allegations against Al Jazeera. This may include those athletes having to formally testify under oath.

Al Jazeera is a satelitte television network based out of Qatar in the Middle East. They were initially launched in November of 1996 as an Arabic news and public affairs network, but have been expanding around the globe, including into the American market with Al Jazeera America.

Howard has been a star player with the Phillies since breaking into Major League Baseball in 2004. He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2005, the National League Most Valuable Player and a Silver Slugger in 2006, the MVP of the 2009 National League Championship Series, and was runner-up for the NL MVP in 2008 when he helped lead the Phillies to just the 2nd World Series championship in team history. He is 2nd on the franchise all-time home run list to Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

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