In the wake of a scandal involving movie executive Harvey Weinstein, who is accused of engaging in improper sexual behavior with more than sixty women, Jamie Naughright has granted her first TV interview in regard to previously reported allegations that former Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning "placed his 'naked butt and rectum'" on her face when he was a student at the University of Tennessee.
Naughright's interview with Inside Edition is on view below. During the segment, she said, "I was repulsed. I was scared. I was intimidated.... It was definitely a predator intimidating. Angry, violent eyes that he had."
The claims against Manning got new attention last year following a lawsuit filed against UT by six Jane Does. The document, accessible below, uses the Manning incident as an example of a Tennessee "culture that enables sexual assault by athletes."
Also linked here is a suit Naughright filed against Manning back in 2003 that was little known until 2016. It accuses Manning of having "placed his 'naked butt and rectum' on Naughright's face" during an examination. The complaint also outlines bullying and harassing behavior against Naughright during the immediate aftermath of the incident and years later, when Manning made a brief mention of what happened in a book.
Here's the Manning paragraph in the first suit. Note that Naughright is referred to by the name she was using at the time, Jamie Whited.
In 1996, (then) Jamie Whited, the first female associate trainer in UT’s history, reported an incident to the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Knoxville alleging that UT football player Peyton Manning had, in brief, “sat on her face” while she was assessing the extent of an injury. The incident was settled in 1997 for an undisclosed amount conditioned on the victim leaving her job at the University.
At first, Manning's cameo in the UT lawsuit didn't get much attention. But then New York Daily News columnist Shaun King obtained a copy of the Naughright complaint, which goes into more detail about her version of what happened when she was examining Manning for a possible stress fracture in his foot. The following Q&A is an excerpt from her deposition:
Marijuana Deals Near You
Q: Let me be very clear there. It was not just his behind, his rear end, that was on your face, but his genitalia was on your face?
A: That's correct. It was the gluteus maximus, the rectum, the testicles, and the area between the testicles. And all that was on my face when I pushed him up and off. And it was like this, and as I pushed him up to get leverage, I took my head out to push him up and off.
Q: And what, if anything, did Mr. Manning — withdrawn. Did you say anything or scream or screech as you felt this on the top of your head?
A: I pushed him off and I said, "You're an ass."
Q: Did you yell or scream or anything like that?
A: When he turned around and looked at me with the anger in his eyes that I saw, I did not want to get confrontational with him. I could see that anger....
Q: What did Mr. Manning say, if anything, to you after you told him he was an ass?
A: He had anger and he smirked and he laughed.
After the incident was reported, Naughright charged that Manning and head athletic trainer Mike Rollo combined forces to "hatch" a story that the quarterback was "mooning" another athlete, Malcolm Saxon, when he accidentally sat on her face.
In a subsequent press account, based on an interview with Manning, Naughright was described as "'one of the guys.' She cursed. She told dirty jokes. She talked 'gutter' talk." In another piece, Manning laughed off what happened, saying, "I'm glad it's all behind me, no pun intended."
However, Naughright considered what happened sexual assault and subsequently took a leave of absence — something the university didn't want connected to Manning. As such, a scapegoat was suggested — an African-American player.
Another excerpt from the deposition:
A: They were asking me to say that, in fact, it was a certain athelete, which they gave me a name, and asked me to change and alter my story to say that this athlete exposed himself and that is the reason why I took medical leave....
What I'm saying is they asked me to go with the story that it was — the reason why I left was because of another athlete, who was African American, exposed himself and said something. They wanted to have me say that was the reason and not the reason of what Mr. Manning did when he assaulted me.
Later, as noted by columnist King, Naughright accepted a settlement to leave the University of Tennessee — and she later took a position at Florida Southern College. But the matter resurfaced when Manning mentioned it in a book called simply Manning, despite his having signed a confidentiality agreement (as did Naughright), the lawsuit states.
The snippet in the book shrugs off the incident and suggests that Naughright had a reputation for being "vulgar." In fact, the envelope sent to Naughright with the pages from the book that referenced her was addressed to "Dr. Vulgar Mouth Whited" — a greeting that seems to confirm Manning's antipathy for Naughright, which was mentioned by his co-author. However, Peyton denied disliking her in testimony of his own.
In response, Naughright, who was bounced from Florida Southern after her supervisor saw what Manning had written about her, filed a complaint against the quarterback, who was then a member of the Indianapolis Colts. The lawsuit was settled out of court.
Elsewhere in the document, Manning is accused of verbally ridiculing Naughright. And combined with a Washington Post report pointing out that Manning's main accuser in an HGH claim only recanted his story after being visited by representatives of the quarterback — something that prompted ESPN's Tony Kornheiser to say "Peyton Manning has goons" on an episode of Pardon the Interruption — the actions hardly portray him in his usual positive light.
Nonetheless, Manning rode out the negative PR and has lately gone back to being one of the busiest pitchmen on television. But that was before Naughright, who says she was inspired by the bravery of Weinstein's accusers, decided to speak out. Here's the Inside Edition segment:
Along with the Naughright interview, the Inside Edition piece includes footage from Manning's deposition in the 2003 lawsuit. In it, he sticks with his aforementioned version of events, saying, "I briefly pulled down my pants to so-called 'moon' him. One second, one-and-a-half seconds. Pulled my pants back up. And continued with Jamie's examination of the bottom of my foot."
In response, Naughright says, "That's a lie."
Manning hasn't responded publicly to Naughright's interview, letting his attorney, Matthew McGill, do the heavy lifting for him.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"Peyton Manning has been absolutely clear: Jamie Naughright's accusations are false," McGill told Inside Edition. "When her claims were first investigated 21 years ago, she told a very different story.... Her current account was invented several years later in connection with the first of several groundless litigations against Peyton. Most recently, she left Peyton's mother a vulgar and extremely disturbing voicemail. Ms. Naughright should stop this abusive behavior."
It's too soon to know if Manning will be able to simply shrug off Naughright's allegations again. After all, the Weinstein controversy has caused many other individuals to come forward with stories of being harassed, physically abused and more at the hands of prominent figures such as journalist Mark Halperin, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey and even former president George H.W. Bush — the ripples continue to spread.
Perhaps Peyton will pay a higher price this time — or maybe he'll sail right along, as he's done ever since that long-ago day in Tennessee.