Manning suffers dent to his wholesome image

Sun Feb 14, 2016 5:18pm EST
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(Reuters) - Peyton Manning's reputation as the National Football League's most bankable player took a hit when he was among 10 athletes cited in a lawsuit filed by six former female students against the University of Tennessee.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday and first reported by The Tennessean, claims that the university violated Title IX regulations and created a "hostile sexual environment" through a policy of indifference toward assaults by student-athletes.

Title IX is a federal statute that bans discrimination along gender lines at schools that receive federal funding.

The suit cited nearly a dozen instances dating back to the mid-1990s of former student athletes accused of sexual assault, including star quarterback Manning who won his second Super Bowl title earlier this month, with the Denver Broncos.

Neither Manning's agent nor the Broncos were immediately available for comment.

The lawsuit alleges that in 1996, when Manning was quarterback for the Volunteers at the University of Tennessee (UT), he placed his naked genitals on the face of a female athletic trainer while she was examining him for an injury.

Manning, who was never the subject of a police investigation into the incident, has denied the allegations and said that he was instead "mooning" a team mate.

The trainer, Dr. Jamie Naughright, later sued Manning after he described her in a book as being "vulgar mouthed".

Malcolm Saxon, the player alleged by Manning to have been the target of the "mooning", refuted Manning's account in documents filed on Naughright's behalf in the case.   Continued...

Feb 9, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning waves to the crowd during the Super Bowl 50 championship parade at Civic Center Park. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports