Peyton Manning was all smiles and tears at his retirement press conference, at least until he was finally asked the question that everyone seemed to be waiting for. Toward the end of the presser, USA Today’s Lindsay Jones brought up the recently resurfaced allegations made by a former Tennessee athletic trainer during Manning’s college days.
The question was framed vaguely:
“Over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about things that happened 20 years ago in your career or in your life. What can you say now about them?”
Manning’s answer was just as vague. (Unsurprisingly so. He’s already been sued twice—settling both times—for violating NDAs about the accusation. He was not about to go into detail here.)
The ESPN feed cut off midway through Manning’s answer. HMMMMMM.
It aired on NFL Network, though. A fine mini-conspiracy theory, thwarted.
Jones went on Twitter to explain why she asked the question. Her mentions are now a cesspool, split equally between reporters telling her she did a good job and Denver fanboys telling her she’s trash. (And at least one reporter who is a fanboy.)
There’s nothing wrong with asking that question, not when just about everyone went into that press conference wondering if it would be asked. (Honestly, it would have felt weirder if it hadn’t been brought up. The lack of a question about the HGH allegations was glaring.) It’s not a reporter’s job to maintain a festive atmosphere at a press conference, or to ignore a big story, just because some morons think it’s poor timing. The timing was perfect, I think: retirement is about taking stock of legacies, and Manning’s legacy has of late turned out to be complicated. The question couldn’t have been more appropriate.