Former Denver Broncos star Peyton Manning, one of the most popular athletes in Colorado and across the country, is receiving unexpected backlash after reports that he joined President Donald Trump for a golf game, with many online commentators making reference to claims that the retired quarterback had pressed his naked buttocks into a trainer's face during his days at the University of Tennessee.
It's no surprise that Manning and the President are friendly. Peyton and brother Eli Manning appeared with Trump in a 2009 commercial for Double Stuff Oreos, as we pointed out in a March 2016 item about a poll in which respondents said they would have more trust for a Supreme Court nomination by the elder Manning than from The Donald (who wound up choosing Coloradan Neil Gorsuch for the job).
Moreover, we noted in a 2012 post introducing Manning to Broncos fans that he has donated money to Republican candidates, including Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who joined Peyton and Trump on the links at Trump International Golf Club over the weekend (right around the time the President was tweeting in typically bellicose fashion about the latest London terror attacks).
But the online reaction to Manning getting too buddy-buddy with such a divisive figure as Trump proves that even the Teflon Quarterback isn't immune from criticism, as seen in responses to a tweet from CNN producer Allie Malloy, among the first to break the news about the outing.
Peyton Manning during his days with the University of Tennessee.
University of Tennessee via the Associated Press
Several of those who weighed in talked about issues we covered in February 2016 — specifically, a lawsuit filed against the University of Tennessee by six Jane Does using an alleged offense by Manning against Dr. Jamie Naughright, then Director of Health & Wellness for the Men's Athletic Program, as an example of a Tennessee "culture that enables sexual assault by athletes." Manning was accused of having "placed his 'naked butt and rectum' on [Naughright's] face."
For more information about this claim, and Manning's denials, read our post headlined "Did Peyton Manning Sit Naked on Doc's Face in College, Bully Her in Later Years?"
Here's a sampling of replies to Malloy's tweet that nod to the Naughright matter:
I wonder if Peyton told him how he put his genitals on a female trainers head.
Two known sexual assaulters. Not sure about Corker.
Well Peyton Manning is a sexual assaulter as I recall, so that makes sense...
Sexual predators tend to flock together
Plenty of other posts were jokey or even supportive of Manning. For instance, one person wrote, "Payton [sic] Manning is not dead to me."
Still, the negative takes were abundant. Here are ten examples:
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Take back his super bowl ring & erase his record w/Broncos. Indiana can have him. They can have mother's boy back too
A respect for Peyton gone
No!! Not Peyton!!
A lifetime of loving the Mannings, starting with Archie, POOF, gone just like that
Peyton touts being Christian. Pence, DeVos, Sessions, all the same cult. White men rule. Women, minorities, subservient. MAGA!
To think I have always respected @PeytonManning36
Peyton is now on my shit list.
Oh Peyton, you D-bag!
Oh Peyton, no! Damn.
No. Peyton. Say it ain't so.
By the way, Manning was in Washington, D.C., to accept an award at Ford's Theatre; he was among honorees said to embody the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.
Who was also a Republican, albeit one who's a lot less controversial today than Donald Trump.