Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Peyton Manning: Mailbox Head

And so it begins. In America, it's not enough to celebrate star athletes, we have to beatify them too. Here's Peter King, one of Sports Illustrated primary NFL reporters, from his Monday Morning Quarterback column yesterday morning:

Of the guys I've covered regularly in recent years, what's remarkable is the three players who stick out for their interest in constantly getting better and doing only what's best for the team. All three played this weekend. Manning. Tom Brady. Brian Urlacher. They love the game, respect the game, work at the game and treat other players with respect. It's what we all should be teaching our children, not that Reggie Bush crap we saw Sunday ... the pointing and taunting.

...

Belittle Manning if you want because he's a cash machine, the highest-paid player in football history who has never met a commercial he didn't like. Hey, it's the American way. But understand how much he wants to win, how hard he works at it, how much he loves the game you love to make the centerpiece of your Sundays for five months every year. And then you'll feel like I feel right now. Like justice has been served.
King's Tuesday column is dedicated to reader mail. Today, one Peni Smith, of Brentwood, Tennessee, writes:
As a University of Tennessee alumni (during the Peyton years), I can not agree more with your article praising him. While I do not personally know Peyton, I do remember his southern gentleman style of holding the doors open for ladies before/after class, etc. As you stated, he is one of the hardest workers in the NFL and I hope his persistence and dedication will finally lead him to a Super Bowl ring. As a former Vol, it will be even more victorious if the UT quarterback beats the Florida Gator quarterback in the Big One!! [emphasis added]
Well.

If Peyton Manning is such a gentleman (as Peni Smith claims), how is it that he ended up in court for shoving his tuckus into the face of a female trainer at Tennessee?
INDIANAPOLIS [story dated 12/25/2003]— A defamation lawsuit filed against Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and three other parties by a former female trainer at the University of Tennessee has been resolved.

"The case has been concluded," Archie Manning, Peyton's father, said Wednesday afternoon through a family spokesman.

The elder Manning would not elaborate, citing confidentiality terms of the resolution.

Peyton Manning was not available for comment after the Colts' practice Wednesday.

The lawsuit was brought by Jamie Ann Naughright, the former director of the athletic training educational program at Florida Southern College. She filed suit in Polk County (Fla.) circuit court in 2002, claiming Manning disparaged her in a book he wrote with his father and author John Underwood —Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy.

...

Circuit court judge Harvey Kornstein ruled in November there was sufficient evidence for a jury to hear Naughright's case. It stemmed from a 1996 encounter during which Manning, at the time a quarterback at Tennessee, dropped his pants in front of Naughright, who was then a trainer at the university.

Without referring to Naughright by name, the book included the "mooning" incident. In the book, Manning wrote the trainer had a "vulgar mouth" but conceded his behavior was "inappropriate."

"Crude, maybe, but harmless," he wrote.

The mooning incident was among numerous claims of sexual harassment Naughright cited in a complaint against the University of Tennessee. She reportedly received a $300,000 settlement from the university in 1997.
The Smoking Gun has more, including an internal report from the University of Tennessee. That report offers a little more information. (Manning's name has been redacted in this version.)
Ms. Whited [the trainer in question, she later changed her last name] identified the student as [redacted]. Ms. Whited stated that [redacted] asked several questions--such as who she "hung out with", what she did on weekends--that she felt inappropriate. She state she was working on [redacted's] foot when shee heard laughter and looked up to see his exposed rear end. She stated that she pushed [redacted] and said "You're an ass."
Remember, this incident ended up costing the University of Tennessee and the Mannings a good-sized chunk of change. Also remember that Peyton's father was also there, yucking it up.

A person's character shouldn't be measured by how they behave when they know they're being scrutinized (such as opening doors for women when in public), but should be measured by how they behave when they believe they can get away with it. Peyton, and his father, already failed that test. The media could ask him about it, but the settlement stipulates that he can't talk about it. The Peyton Manning hype might be tolerable if media types didn't make a saint out of him. But we know he was a jerk in college to people like the trainers. Is there any reason to think he's better than that now?

And on the football front, if Peyton does beat a Florida quarterback in the Super Bowl, it will be the first time that's happened. Danny Wuerfffel owned him in college, and even beat him in the NFL. Additionally, Peyton couldn't win the Heisman, in large part because of what Wuerffel did. Wuerffel, of course, did win the Heisman Trophy, the same year University of Florida won its first national championship in football. (Manning couldn't win a national championship in college, either. He did win an SEC Championship in 1997, but UF still beat UT that year. After all, you can't spell 'Citrus' without 'u' 't'. Incidentally, Peyton and UT got stomped into the dirt in Peyton's final collegiate game.)

So there you have it. Peyton Manning: jerk-face, and mailbox head. And he never could beat Danny Wuerffel.

2 comments:

Pooh said...

Peyton's response.

"Moo-vers..."

Icepick said...

Best comment on the other site: "Can someone tell me how he got the nickname Fetus head?"

LOL!

But actually, Peyton, they're saying "Aaaaassssssssss-hoooooole."