One of the greatest athletes and quarterbacks of our generation retired today. Peyton Manning's legacy on-the-field in the NFL is epic and is probably only seen once in a generation. Media channels from the mainstream CBS Morning Show to the regular ESPN multi-channel shows and platforms spent hours and hours covering Manning and his history as an NFL quarterback, the recent HGH scandal. Easy. Great. Thorough? Not so much.
What a missed opportunity for media to tell the full scope of who Peyton Manning truly is as a player and a charitable man. Unfortunately, this is the absolute norm in media coverage: the positive stories are never the ones that are emphasized and they are rarely told. Personally, not to knock the brilliant peers I have in the media, but I think this is grossly irresponsible journalism. And I'm now so tired and relentless about the lack of this kind of coverage that I've become a staunch advocate for the positive stories in sports.
Here's the thing, when it comes to some of the world's billionaire philanthropists like Gates, Zuckerberg, Buffett and Bloomberg, we know their humanitarian work. Most likely due to the push of their own media and PR staff making sure to control that narrative during interviews. But why don't we consistently know of the good work athletes do in their community along with the sensationalized scandalous stories? This has been one of the more frustrating topics of my career.
In their lead-up coverage to his retirement announcement this morning, ESPN asked "Who is Peyton Manning?" and then they launched into the HGH scandal. "When you think about a player, you want to think about him in totality." said Howard Bryant on Sports Center. And then NOTHING about his Peyback Foundation that he's been the President of since 1999. Really? REALLY? When you talk about the bad and there is opportunity to talk about the good, why wouldn't you do that? I'm not just singling out ESPN and Howard Bryant, (who I do not know personally and I'm sure Bryant is a great man himself) I am saying that this is everyone in the media who is responsible for missing this side of the story.
So because others are not covering his positive impact, I'm going to give it to you:
1. The PeyBack Foundation has had over $10M of impact on at risk youth.
2. Community work includes programs in Colorado, Indiana, Tennessee and Louisiana.
3. Over $1M in grants were given to 144 non-profits in 2015 for youth sports.
4. Peyton Manning's Children Hospital in St. Vincent, Indiana has been a partnership for 17 years.
5. Under the Foundation, the PeyBack Awards gives a $5,000 grant to a current NFL player's own personal charity.
And these are just a few of the highlights of the GREAT and IMPORTANT work he and his foundation do in the community. For more information, here is his web site http://www.peytonmanning.com/peyback-foundation.
Under full disclosure, I have zero relationship with Peyton or the Mannings. I just think that these stories should be told. Cover the GOOD and the BAD as fair and responsible journalism.