Washington Nationals All-Star first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has sued cable news net Al Jazeera over the Dec. 27 airing of a documentary, The Dark Side: Secrets of the Sports Dopers, that included allegations he had used performance enhancing drugs, an allegation later recanted by its source.
Zimmerman had denied the allegation, which was also levelled, then recanted, against Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, and the Nationals backed him up.
In the suit, a copy of which was posted by Reuters, Zimmerman said his reputation had been damaged by "outrageously false and defamatory statements recklessly published by Al Jazeera." That reputation has helped him to lucrative endorsement deals with, among others, Comcast, DirecTV, and MASN, as well as Coke, Geico and Under Armour.
Zimmerman said the story had been "unequivocally recanted" before publication and that Al Jazeera knew that and published the "scandalous and untrue" allegation anyway.
Zimmerman wants general, special and punitive damages, an injunction forcing Al Jazeera to remove any false and defamatory statements from its websites, and a retraction, not on an Al Jazeera outlet, but in the New York Times or similar national outlet.
Howard has also reportedly filed suit.
Al Jazeera had not returned an email request for comment at press time.