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Home » Sexual Assault » Peyton Manning’s Good-Guy Image Ruined By Sex Scandal

Peyton Manning’s Good-Guy Image Ruined By Sex Scandal

peyton-manning-jamie-naughrightThe further we walk into the future, the harder it gets to remember those days before the internet. How did information get anywhere fast enough? How did people find out what’s going on in the world? The answer, perhaps unfortunately, is that we used to be at the mercy of media outlets. It wasn’t necessarily easy to cover up scandals and spin the truth — but it was a hell of a lot easier than it is now.

Flashback to 2003: USA Today published an article about Peyton Manning entitled, “Do you really know your sports hero?” If you don’t remember this story, join the club. Facebook was in utero. Twitter hadn’t even been conceived. In short, the internet as we know it was very, very young. So, when Peyton Manning, his representatives, and his family tried to cover up the scandal surrounding his sexual assault of athletic trainer and scholar Dr. Jamie Naughright, they were largely successful.

Until now.

Who is Jamie Naughright?

For starters, she’s a well-respected professional in the field of health education and wellness. That was her department when she worked at the University of Tennessee in the 1990’s. Jamie Naughright’s official title was “Director of Health & Wellness” for the Men’s Athletic Program, which she earned in 1995 after seven years of dedication to UT’s athletic program. She gave lectures. She pioneered revolutionary medical and educational programs. She launched community service campaigns and raised money for charities. She trained staff. She trained athletes in multiple fields.  Calling her a staple of the athletic department would be an understatement.

Naughright was also the driving force behind UT’s incredible success in SEC football from 1996 to 1998. The team took home back-to-back championships as well as the national title. If you asked Tennessee football fans about the team’s best years, it’s pretty likely that they’ll talk about these three during which Naughright was the associate athletic director for the football team — whether they know who she is or not.

Her achievements are even more impressive in light of the sexist bullshit she had to go through during her years at the university. See, before Naughright worked with the Men’s Athletic Department, she helped out with the women’s teams — the Lady Volunteers. After she transferred, her boss Mike Rollo led the charge in a campaign of sexualized, inappropriate conduct against her: he’d just been working with the Lady Volunteers too, but he didn’t call them that. They were female athletes. Which means they were lesbians. Which meant they needed a name befitting lesbians, as Rollo understood them. He came up with the “Lady Lickers.”

Since Naughright was a lady who worked with the Lady Lickers, Rollo decided that she must also be a lesbian. But he didn’t keep that assessment to himself — over the course of three years, from 1989 to 1992, he regularly referred to Naughright as “cunt bumper.” To her face. In private, in public… apparently just all the time. He made sure it caught on. By the time Naughright got enough guts to complain, she was pretty much only called by her offensive nickname by Rollo and a bunch of other staff members. Administration ordered them to stop, so they dropped “cunt” and just called her “bumper.”

Did Naughright let this get to her? Nope. She dedicated the proceeding years to developing policies for various athletic departments that prohibited nasty language and offered training in appropriate conduct.

But this was only the beginning.

Enter Peyton Manning:

The son of a celebrated football superstar, Archie Manning, Peyton swung into the football program at UT prepared to kick off his own legacy. Based on his good guy image and the obvious excellence of Naughright, a logical person might assume that each’s proficiency in their respective fields must have made for a fantastic trainer-athlete relationship.

But it didn’t. Right from the get-go, during the first semester of Peyton’s first year at the university, something happened between the two of them. Something undesirable. We don’t know this part of the story — Peyton’s Manning’s legal counsel has since redacted the account from the permanent record. Whatever it was though, it set the tone for their relationship in a bad, bad way. Naughright didn’t leave her position, and Peyton kept on playing football, but the mysterious incident made him super resentful of her. That grudge never went away.

Enter Peyton Manning’s Ballsack:

Sorry for the crude spoiler, but that’s apparently what happened next. Nothing particularly horrible happened between Naughright and Manning for a couple of years, but in 1996, something did.

It was the end of February. Naughright had since become UT’s Director of Health and Wellness. As such, she was checking out a potential stress fracture in Peyton Manning’s foot while he sat on a training table, legs hanging off. This is where things got gross and very inappropriate: at some point, Manning allegedly pushed himself forward so that his balls were in Naughright’s face and his penis was on her head.

Needless to say, Naughright took offense to the violation. Even more needless to say, this was probably not the reaction Manning was going for. She reported it immediately to the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Knoxville, and he flat out denied it ever happened. And remember: this was the eve of the internet. Much easier to cover up stuff like this. Much more ideal for the University of Tennessee to listen to Peyton Manning. SEC football is a religion and Manning is a god. Who do you think they were more inclined to throw under the bus — the hero in the spotlight, or his trainer in the shadows?

It doesn’t really matter what you think. Mike Rollo chose Peyton Manning. His cover-up was really stupid, though. He claimed under oath that Manning was just trying to moon this other athlete, Malcolm Saxon, who was in the room at the time. Here’s an excerpt from Saxon’s response in an affidavit:

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

When Saxon didn’t back up Rollo’s story about mooning, he lost his eligibility to be a student athlete.

In spite of all the damning witness testimony and the insanely illogical nature of Manning’s defense, the school made a choice: Jamie Naughright leaves, Peyton Manning stays.

Before she left, some staff members tried to convince her to blame the incident on another student. A student with black skin instead of white skin. They even told her exactly who to blame. Naughright, disgusted by the suggestion, responded with a hearty “NO” and moved on.

Both Manning and Naughright signed a confidentiality agreement to make sure that the sexual assault would never be discussed.

That’s Not All, Folks!

The story goes on. Naughright left the University of Tennessee and got hired by Florida Southern College. She worked hard for three years to improve the school’s athletic department in numerous ways, taking on the roles of both assistant professor and program director.

Her success snowballed. She became the head athletic trainer for the USA’s women’s track and field team in Beijing in 1998. Her proficiency in this role earned her the same title for both men and women’s track and field teams in 2000, as the USA faced off against Canada.

Things stopped looking so great in 2001. Naughright had just come home to Florida after taking students to South Africa for educational and service-related purposes. In her office was a fat manilla envelope, the outside of which read “Dr. Vulgar Mouth Whited.” A strange thing to receive, because Naughright hadn’t been called “Whited” since that was her married name… during her years at UT.

Inside the envelope were copies of excerpts from a book title “The Mannings.” It was  written by Peyton, his father Archie, and a ghostwriter. The pages in the envelope were about Naughright and perpetuated the slanderous story that had forced her to leave UT’s athletic program. Naturally, this was not a pleasant moment for Naughright. Her coworkers that watched her read the envelope’s contents said she was “shaken up.”

Even worse, her supervisor had already read it. And that was it. Her time at Florida Souther College was over. Whatever Peyton Manning said about Naughright in his book ruined her career. She was done with college athletics.

Naughright Pushes Back:

It was really, really stupid of the Mannings to write whatever they wrote about her in their book. It was even stupider to send it to her in an envelope covered with insulting language. But the stupidest thing they did was assume that Naughright would just lay down and take it.

She sued them, their ghostwriter, and the publisher. The Mannings moved to dismiss it, but the judge wasn’t having it:

“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.”

So the case was not dismissed — Peyton Manning had to testify. He tried about as hard as he did when defending himself against Naughright’s claims in the 1990’s. Another story was concocted, this time to prove that Naughright had a vulgar mouth, and yet again it was dismissed by the alleged witnesses. Just as Manning thought his fellow athletic Malcom Saxon would support his make-believe, he thought the students who he claimed witnessed Naughright’s foul language would back him up.

Peyton Manning spoke of a trip to Virginia involving himself, Naughright, and various other athletes. He said she called the other students “motherfuckers” and asked Peyton to give them a ride. Not only did each student testify that they’d never heard Naughright use profanity even once, they also unanimously state that Manning wasn’t even the one to give them a ride that night.

One student said over and over again to multiple parts of Manning’s story, “I unequivocally state that this did not occur.”

Lies, Lies, and More Lies!

It was clear that the Mannings weren’t going to get ANYBODY to back them up. Not only were each of their lies about alleged vulgar quotes refuted by every witness brought forward, they were augmented by unanimous expressions of admiration for Naughright — both in a professional and personal sense.

Eventually, it was even revealed that Archie Manning told the ghostwriter that Naughright used to sneak into the dorms of UT’s black students to have sex with them. Wait, sorry, to have sex with “large numbers” of them.

Witness after witness, coworker after coworker, testimony after testimony — not a single person brought forward to confirm the Manning’s claims of vulgarity and promiscuousness were able to provide evidence. Nobody could ever recall an a situation in which Naughright was vulgar. And every single person asked about her promiscuity made it clear that they knew of no evidence proving such claims. They’d just heard rumors that it might be true. Stuff like, “such-and-such said that so-and-so said that a student said that some person told him that maybe it happened.”

How It All Turned Out:

The case was settled in 2003 and the terms were never disclosed. No defense worked for the Mannings. Testimony after testimony proved Naughright’s professionalism and morality.

But the book with all those horrible lies is still in publication. You can buy that shit. Peyton Manning is still enjoying his celebrity status — not just as an athlete, but as a STANDUP PERSON. How much money has this guy made from cultivating his good-guy image?

Do your research. See what you think. Believe me, I’m as upset as everyone else is to learn that Peyton Manning is probably —  definitely — a walking beehive of lies and sleaze.

Hopefully, the re-emergence of this story will prove beneficial to Jamie Naughright, whose reputation has suffered far too much for someone who has done absolutely nothing wrong. If nothing else, it goes to show the power of the law: with great legal representation, even powerful, rich superstars like Peyton Manning can be brought to justice. Goliath doesn’t always beat David.

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients across a wide range of cases — including those related to defamation. Whatever your problems are, there’s no reason to assume that you should accept consequences you don’t deserve. Call today, or go online to set up your free initial consultation, and meet with a skilled lawyer who’s ready and waiting to guide you toward the justice you deserve.

(615) 259-2660

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