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This morning fake black guy Shaun King — he’s white but has been pretending to be black for nearly forty years — decided to write about Peyton Manning mooning and teabagging a trainer twenty years ago. His motive to do so was, predictably, racist. He believed Cam Newton had been treated unfairly in the wake of the Super Bowl so he decided to take a page from the political handbook of PC bros everywhere and write an old story about Peyton Manning in an effort to try to turn it into a new story.
The entire article can best be summarized thusly: Look at what this white guy did twenty years ago! It’s so unfair how people are treating Cam now!
Here’s what Manning did in 1996 –1996! — according to A Daily Beast article written during Super Bowl week. These quotes come from the plaintiff’s court filings which means they are placing Manning’s acts in the absolute worst light possible: “Naughright had her head down, but upon hearing the chuckles and guffaws, she looked up only to find herself face-to-face with Manning’s exposed ass and testicles. It was the gluteus maximus, the rectum, the testicles and the area in between the testicles. And all that was on my face when I pushed him up.”
You can also read the official report from The University of Tennessee on “The Smoking Gun,” which is a more neutral version written twenty years ago. That report finds “She (the trainer) was working on (redacted, but it’s Peyton Manning’s) foot when she heard laughter and looked up to see his exposed rear end. She stated that she then pushed (Peyton Manning) and said, “You’re an ass.”
So according to this report written twenty years ago the trainer made no mention of actually being put in contact with Manning’s rear end. In fact, she pushed him away and called him an ass. Then in a plaintiff’s filing several years later she suddenly has his butt, his rectum, his testicles and his taint all over her. Interesting that her story would change. The law generally favors the most contemporary version of events possible since it’s the one least likely to be altered by memory. So it’s important to note that in this trainer’s original statement to the University of Tennessee as part of her sexual harassment investigation she made no mention of Manning contacting her.
The report also says a supervisor classified Manning’s act as “merely a prank.”
So, and I can’t believe I get to write this, the real question here is, was there contact that accompanied the twenty year old mooning or was it merely a twenty year old mooning without contact?
This is why you go to law school, kids.
So twenty years ago Peyton Manning — as part of a locker room prank — pulled off a mooning and, potentially, a mooning plus backside contact on a trainer. It was juvenile and dumb and the trainer eventually included the allegation as part of a thirty count sexual harassment suit she filed against Tennessee. But it speaks to Peyton Manning’s image that this is the absolute worst thing anyone can find that he has done in nearly twenty years in the public eye, a locker room prank gone awry. And that some people in the Internet’s outrage brigade are aghast over this behavior twenty years after the fact. My God, a mooning and, if the plaintiff’s claim is to be believed, which is a different story than she initially told, a mooning accompanied by brief contact in a locker room!
Well, a twenty year career devoid of any criminal wrongdoing. But, but, twenty years ago, what about that prank? Why aren’t we still talking about that prank from twenty years ago today? Why, why, — clutching pearls and trembling — WHY?!
The university settled the trainer’s lawsuit for $300,000 — if you were in the state of Tennessee at the time — which I was — the local media covered it in great detail and it was much discussed on sports talk radio — then the story gradually faded as stories often do over an ensuing generation of other, newer and more interesting sports stories involving that same athlete.
Just as Kobe Bryant’s alleged rape, Mike Vick’s dogfighting, Ben Roethlisberger’s alleged rape, or Ray Lewis’s double murder, all of which are infinitely more serious allegations, have faded away as well.
Is it a collective flaw that we forgive and forget scandalous histories involving our favorite athletes? Perhaps. Or it could just be an acknowledgment that no one’s perfect and that determining exactly what did and did not happen in the dustbin of the past is tough to reconcile in the present day. That could be an interesting column — do sports stars receive more forgiveness than regular people? Are we too lenient when it comes to forgiving off the field incidents if athletes are talented enough on the field? But that wasn’t what Shaun King wrote about. He trumped up an old story and tried to make it into a new story and argue that one reason Manning’s flaws aren’t discussed is because he’s protected by the white establishment.
Of course there are many athletes of all races who have done much worse things in the past twenty years and we don’t discuss those issues either. After all, now Disney employs Ray Lewis, Kobe’s embarking on a year long farewell tour filled with national genuflection and praise, and Big Ben is a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback. Hell, Mike Tyson, who served time in prison for rape, is now a lovable comedic movie star with his own daily show in Las Vegas. Peyton’s locker room transgressions being forgotten is hardly unique. How many articles did you see about Cam Newton being kicked out of Florida for stealing another student’s laptop during Super Bowl week? I didn’t see a single story. And that was just a few years ago. Moreover, all of these incidents were criminal investigations. This was a locker room prank.
But this brings us back to Shaun King, who wants us to believe that Peyton is a much more sinister figure than the dad-bodded affable product pitchman that he’s become as he nears forty years old. Basically Shaun King, who has been living a lie for his entire life, wants us to believe that Peyton has been living a lie too.
Only, what actual evidence does he provide?
A single locker room prank from nearly a generation ago that has been discussed a ton on the Internet. Deadspin, The Big Lead, Pro Football Talk and Barstool Sports all wrote about it years ago. I’ve talked about it on the radio for years. Sure, there was a subsequent lawsuit in 2003, but that was because Manning apologized for inappropriate behavior in his book when discussing the incident.
What’s more, that lawsuit was filed by the trainer. That is, she chose to make Manning’s apology an issue. (All of the documents in question that King cited were from the plaintiff’s side of the case. Which, you know, is totally one-sided, but that’s a detail for people who can actually read.) I’ve seen quite a few nondisclosure agreements in my day and I’ve never seen one that didn’t allow one party to express his wrongdoing to the other. Nondisclosure agreements are typically drafted to ensure that no one ever has to acknowledge that he or she did anything wrong. Regardless, the trainer filed a lawsuit, claiming that despite the fact that Manning didn’t name her in the book and said his behavior was inappropriate, everyone at her new place of employment was now aware of her past history and it was causing problems for her at work. (I would have loved to have argued the other side of this case. “Really? So everyone on your new college campus read Peyton Manning’s book and even though you weren’t named in it and it was a couple of paragraphs from a several hundred page book, they identified you as the trainer in question from a decade ago? And now you can’t do your job? If you really wanted to move on from a 1996 prank wouldn’t you, you know, NOT FILE A LAWSUIT NAMING YOURSELF AS THE UNNAMED TRAINER FROM HIS BOOK.” But maybe this makes too much sense.)
Eventually Peyton gave her more money to make the suit go away and signed a new nondisclosure agreement. All still relating to the mooning and teabagging incident from his junior year of college. This has to be the most nondisclusure agreements ever connected to a mooning in legal history.
And now this story has gone viral twenty years after it happened. Again, it speaks to Peyton Manning’s public persona that the only thing anyone can find to argue he’s a bad guy is a locker room prank gone awry from 1996.
But, of course, this isn’t really about Peyton Manning at all.
It’s just a fake black guy trying to race hustle.
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