WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman and Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard sued the Al Jazeera America television network for defamation on Tuesday over a report that the Major League Baseball players used a performance-enhancing drug.
The two suits, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, accuse the network of libel and invasion of privacy. They are seeking punitive and other damages as well as a court order that Al Jazeera retract false and defamatory statements, according to the court filing.
Al Jazeera reported on Dec. 27 that Zimmerman and Howard, both first basemen, along with some National Football League players, had received supplies of Delta-2, a banned hormone supplement.
Al Jazeera did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Major League Baseball has said it would investigate the allegations.
The source for the story, Charles Sly, also told an Al Jazeera undercover reporter that he had supplied Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning with human growth hormones to recover from neck surgery in 2011. Manning has denied the allegations.
Sly has recanted his comments, saying the network recorded him without his knowledge or consent.
The suit also names reporter Deborah Davies and her assistant, Liam James Collins, both Britons.
Reporting by Ian Simpson; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Sandra Maler