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KING: Facts prove no witch hunt against Peyton Manning

Shaun King

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Monday, February 15, 2016, 3:27 PM

exp;ED REINKE/AP

The 74-page document that we released includes hundreds of actual facts and the majority of them are not from the victim in this case, Dr. Jamie Naughright, but from friends, family, and teammates of Peyton Manning himself.

On Saturday, we released a 74-page court document detailing the complex case of how the life and career of Dr. Jamie Naughright, Director of Health & Wellness for Men’s Athletics at the University of Tennessee, were ruined by Peyton Manning, Archie Manning and the university.

In the wake of this release, countless pundits and platforms have repeatedly made one key error – they have erroneously reported that the document we released was “one-sided” or was just “one woman’s thoughts” on the case. This is not only an egregious misrepresentation of what we released, it causes me to sincerely question the motives of anyone who says such a thing.

Since what we released on Saturday did include my own narrative summary and thoughts of the document, today I’d like for us to simply drill down to the facts.

KING: PEYTON MANNING’S SQUEAKY-CLEAN IMAGE BUILT ON A STACK OF LIES

What follows will be a summary of the essential facts of the case included in the court document from Polk County, Fla., we released on Saturday and from other court documents which have been released on the case. The Polk County court document, again, is posted in full below.

1. When Peyton and Archie Manning spoke about Dr. Jamie Naughright in their book, “The Mannings,” they violated an agreement that was in place with the University of Tennessee not to speak about her or the incidents involving her at the university.

2. Dr. Jamie Naughright sued Peyton Manning, Archie Manning, their ghostwriter, and the publisher of the book, Harper-Collins, for defaming her character – which cost her a brand new job that she had landed at Florida Southern.

3. Peyton Manning filed a motion to have her lawsuit thrown out.

Now, this next fact is perhaps the most important in the entire case that has been released thus far to debunk the notion that what we’re dealing with here is one opinion from one writer or one side from one victim.

 Dr. Jamie Naughright sued Peyton Manning, Archie Manning, their ghostwriter, and the publisher of the book, Harper-Collins, for defaming her character. Tatiana Orellana/Youtube

 Dr. Jamie Naughright sued Peyton Manning, Archie Manning, their ghostwriter, and the publisher of the book, Harper-Collins, for defaming her character. 

4. Polk County Circuit Judge Harvey A. Kornstein not only denied the motion from the Manning family but blasted Peyton Manning, his father, and the others not only for lying about Dr. Jamie Naughright in their book, but for doing so with “clear and convincing evidence” of deliberate malice. In his statement, he said:

“Even if the plaintiff is a public figure, the evidence of record contains sufficient evidence to satisfy the court that a genuine issue of material fact exists that would allow a jury to find, by clear and convincing evidence, the existence of actual malice of the part of the defendants.”

“Specifically, there is evidence of record, substantial enough to suggest that the defendants knew that the passages in question were false, or acted in reckless disregard of their falsity. There is evidence of record to suggest that there were obvious reasons to doubt the veracity of Peyton Manning’s account of the incident in question. The court further finds that there is sufficient evidence to permit the conclusion that the defendants entertained serious doubts as to the truth of the passages in this case.”

Judge Harvey Kornstein did not arrive at his conclusion that “clear and convincing” evidence of malice existed because one woman said it did, but because overwhelming evidence proved such a thing.

Now, let’s explore that evidence.

In their book, and later under oath, the Manning family recalled a “favor” that Peyton Manning did for Dr. Jamie Naughright. This “favor” is an essential story because it was the only time that Manning could actually recall Dr. Jamie Naughright being “vulgar.” Manning described in his book and under oath a time when he and four other athletes traveled to a conference in Virginia together. At that conference, he stated that Dr. Naughright asked him to give the four younger students a ride somewhere. According to Manning, when she asked him, she called the students “motherf—–s.”

5. In fact, instead of all four students being younger than Manning, they were each older – in age, and in the year of school they were currently in.

6. In fact, all four students, three of which were active teammates of Manning, all testified under oath that he did not in fact give them a ride anywhere.

Archie Manning, father of former Tennessee Vols QB and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton ManningCorey Sipkin/New York Daily News

Archie Manning, father of former Tennessee Vols QB and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning

7. In fact, all four students testified that Eric Lane, the older fullback of the team, drove the van and that they never would’ve asked or expected Peyton to give them a ride anywhere.

8. In fact, Lane, a close teammate of Manning, who, at the time of his testimony was in law school and employed by the university, testified that Peyton did not give them a ride that day.

9. In fact, every person there, including the four students, college staff members, and the respected head of the Metropolitan Drug Commission in Knoxville, Jill Griffin, who roomed with Dr. Naughright on the trip and was in close proximity to her when the encounter Peyton lied about took place, each testified that Dr. Naughright did not use vulgar language toward the students and did not ask Peyton Manning to give them a ride anywhere.

These are facts. They may be deeply inconvenient facts for Peyton Manning, but they are facts nonetheless. These are sworn testimonies and affidavits from his friends and teammates universally stating that he misrepresented Dr. Jamie Naughright in the only encounter he could recall to disparage her character.

These, though, aren’t the only facts. In 1996 when Dr. Jamie Naughright reported that she was sexually assaulted by Peyton Manning, Manning at first denied any such incident took place. He was knowingly coached by one of the lead athletic trainers, Mike Rollo, to say that he actually mooned Dr. Jamie Naughright.

10. Under oath, Mike Rollo testified that nobody ever said it was a mooning until he advised Peyton to use the word mooning. Rollo testified that he did not see the incident, or ever have it described to him as a mooning, but that he was the first to describe it as such. After that, the story stuck.

11. Peyton later claimed that the person he mooned was another student athlete, Malcolm Saxon. Included in the legal documents from Polk County, Fla., was a very compelling letter from him in which he repeatedly begged Manning to own up to what he did to Naughright and to “come clean” on it and telling him that he “messed up.”

Here are excerpts from that letter:

First, I have stuck to my same story throughout this drama. I told Mike Rollo the next day and Coach Fulmer a week or two afterwards. I had nothing to hide at that point and I have nothing to hide today. I have never been on Jamie’s side or on your side (contrary to what the athletic department was telling you and telling her). I stuck to the truth and I lost my eligibility for it. My redshirt request sat on Mike Rollo’s desk for months as the process was going forward. I’m not angry about it anymore, just getting a little tired of it!!

Peyton, you messed up. I still don’t know why you dropped your drawers. Maybe it was a mistake, maybe not. But it was definitely inappropriate. Please take some personal responsibility here and own up to what you did. I never understood why you didn’t admit to it…

Saxon goes on to tell Peyton things like:

Coming clean is the right thing to do.

You have shown no mercy or grace to this lady who was on her knees seeing if you had a stress fracture.

You might as well maintain some dignity and admit to what happened.

Your celebrity doesn’t mean that you can treat folks this way.

Again, we’re not dealing with opinions or one side here.

All four student athletes who traveled with Peyton to the Virginia conference testified that he lied about every detail of the story. Staff members and community leaders testified to this as well.

The very person Peyton Manning said he “mooned” begged him to “come clean” on what really happened. Those aren’t all of the facts, though.

12. Under oath, Peyton Manning and Archie Manning had to admit that even though they told the ghostwriter of their book a slew of stories about the promiscuity of Dr. Jamie Naughright and her propensity of “being with black guys” that they actually had no firsthand knowledge of any such thing. Under oath, when the people the Manning’s said they learned such things from were asked to testify about it, they too were forced to admit they had no firsthand knowledge of any such thing. In fact, nobody did.

13. Instead, multiple athletes, particularly African American athletes, testified that they were deeply offended by the testimony of the Manning’s and that they had never seen or even heard of Dr. Jamie Naughright being in unprofessional relationships with black athletes or students.

14. Furthermore, University of Tennessee staff members testified under oath that they asked Dr. Jamie Naughright to attempt to acquire a video of athletes having sex with an underage girl who was reported to have been violently raped by a student. When asked under oath if he understood that what he was asking Dr. Naughright to do constituted child pornography, the staffer dodged the question.

15. As a part of her 1997 settlement with the University of Tennessee, Naughright agreed to turn over a collection of audio recordings that she made using a wire. The university, according to the settlement, agreed to permanently destroy the recordings in 2005.

16. When asked to describe the punishment that Peyton Manning received from the university for two different incidents involving Dr. Jamie Naughright, one incident was redacted from the records and other being the sexual assault, it was described that Manning was asked to run extra laps and not be allowed to eat at the special facility for athletes. Testimony was included which stated, to the shock of other students, that Manning refused to even do the extra running or avoid the special facility.

This list could go on and on. The 74-page document that we released includes hundreds of actual facts and the majority of them are not from the victim in this case, Dr. Jamie Naughright, but from friends, family, and teammates of Peyton Manning himself.

Anyone who willfully ignores these facts, or chooses to focus on who they think I am, instead of focusing on these facts, does so at the expense of reality.


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