Just a week after his big Super Bowl win, Peyton Manning came under heavy fire for a sexual assault case that happened nearly 20 years ago. And, according to The Daily Beast, this is one more of what seems to be an ever-growing list of scandal cover-ups. Then, Shaun King of The New York Daily News reports that 13 years ago, USA Today obtained a 74-page court document that revealed details of the case, and for unclear reasons, it never went public.
Now, several sources have caught wind of the story and are reporting that back in 1996, the former director of health and wellness at the University of Tennessee, Jamie Naughright (then Whited), claimed that a 19-year-old Manning made unwanted sexual contact with her while she was examining him for a foot injury—you can read a more specific account here. Following a $300,000 settlement with the University of Tennessee, Naughright and Manning signed a confidentiality agreement. And, The Daily Beast reports, Manning’s underwhelming punishment from UT included a loss of “privilege to eat at the athletic facilities dining room, and requiring him to run at 6 a.m. for two weeks.”
Manning writes about the incident in his book Manning: A Father, His Sons, and a Football Legacy, which he co-authored with his father, Archie, and journalist John Underwood. In his mention of the events, he doesn’t disclose Naughright’s name but expresses that the unnamed trainer could have laughed it off because his actions were “crude, maybe, but harmless.” After all, boys will be boys, right? He also took the opportunity to call Naughright a “vulgar woman” and claim that he was actually mooning a fellow teammate, not Naughright, and said that the whole mess could have been avoided were it not for the loss of male-only spaces. He wrote:
“Never mind that women in the men’s locker room is one of the most misbegotten concessions to equal rights ever made. When Dad played, there was still at least a tacit acknowledgment that women and men are two different sexes, with all that implies, and a certain amount of decorum had to be maintained. Meaning when it came to training rooms and shower stalls, the opposite sex was not allowed. Common sense tells you why.”
Forbes reports that in 2002, Naughright received an envelope while she was working at Florida Southern College as the Director of the Athletic Training Program. It was addressed to “Dr. White Vulgar Mouthed” and contained excerpts from the book. Naughright sued Manning for defamation and claimed he was trying to rewrite history. Her lawsuit stated, “It became common knowledge on campus that Dr. Naughright was the athletic trainer referred to by the defendants in Manning.” As a result, she “was treated differently by both students and colleagues and her employment situation at Florida Southern College became untenable, which ultimately resulted in her leaving the employment of Florida Southern College.”
According to The Daily Beast, Malcolm Saxon, a track and field athlete who was in the room during the incident, wrote Manning a letter imploring him to “maintain some dignity and admit to what happened … Your celebrity doesn’t mean you can treat folks that way … Do the right thing here.”
It seemed like Manning took the advice when he settled with Naughright out of court and signed, yet another confidentiality agreement. An agreement that apparently held little weight for the quarterback because he broke the agreement again Two years later in an ESPN documentary.
Tiffanie is the Social Media Coordinator at RELEVANT. She enjoys assorted Italian meats, meaningful conversations, and long, romantic walks to the fridge. You can follower her life adventures on Twitter @tiffaniebrunson.