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Bruce Arians: Manning story is sensationalism

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Posted at 12:53 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 13:00:38-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indianapolis Colts coach Bruce Arians weighed in on the recent Peyton Manning allegations, calling them "sensationalism."

At the NFL Combine, Arians said that he thinks it's a bigger story now than when the incident happened because of Manning's recent success.

"Somebody trying to get their name out there and use him for a steppingstone," Arians said, via ESPN. That's just my personal opinion."

Manning was mentioned in a lawsuit against the University of Tennessee, in which a group of women said the school violated Title IX regulations in the school's handing sexual assaults. A sexual harassment complaint was made by a Tennessee trainer in 1995.

PREVIOUS | Peyton Manning mentioned in sexual assault lawsuit filed against University of Tennessee

"If we're all going to get nitpicked for what we did in college, we're all in trouble," Arians said. "We all did things in college when we were growing [up]. This was just a bigger story now, I think, because of who he is and what he just did. Not what happened back then."

The trainer, Jamie Ann Naughright, settled in 1997, but sued Manning for defamation in 2002 after he discussed the incident in a book. The lawsuit was settled in 2003.

Naughright's sexual harassment claim involved a 1996 incident in which Manning exposed his buttocks as Naughright, then known as Jamie Whited, bent over to examine his foot in a training room. Manning said at the time it was a prank intended for another athlete. The Title IX lawsuit says Manning had "sat on her face" while she was assessing the extent of an injury.

Tennessee's current coaches held a press conference to defend the university against the lawsuit and the allegations. 

"I don't want you to think in any way, shape or form that we don't feel for the alleged victims," Football coach Butch Jones said. "We feel for them. I hurt for them. We all hurt for them. I want to make sure people understand that. That hits at our soul."

PREVIOUS | Tennessee coaches address lawsuit over sexual assault complaints

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