Ryan Howard has filed a lawsuit against Al Jazeera network, according to a statement released by the Phillies first baseman.
"Today I authorized my attorneys to file suit against Al Jazeera and its reporters," Howard said. "Their irresponsible reporting forced me to take this action to protect my name and to fight back against the spreading of these lies. I will have no further comment as the filing itself contains all I need to say."
The defamation suit was filed Tuesday in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. Al Jazeera is being sued by Howard for a report it ran last month that connected the first baseman and other professional athletes to the performance-enhancing substance Delta 2. The suit also names the two reporters involved.
Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning were among the athletes mentioned in the report.
The court document filed by Howard's lawyers claims the accusations against the Phillies' slugger "are categorically untrue. Mr. Howard has never taken Delta 2 human growth hormone or any other steroid or performance-enhancing substance banned by MLB. Mr. Howard has never received any banned substance from Charles David Sly. . . . Sly's statements about Howard, as published by defendants, are per se defamatory, as they falsely accuse Mr. Howard of illegal acts."
The document also said that the "defendants are well aware that these statements are untrue and defamatory, and have shown reckless disregard for this fact."
Sly made the claims about Howard and others while being secretly videotaped by an Al Jazeera undercover reporter. Sly recanted his statements before the Al Jazeera documentary was televised, but the network went with the story anyway and has since stood by its report.