Reports: Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Howard sue Al Jazeera for defamation

This means a little bit more than a simple denial: Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman has reportedly (via Reuters) filed a lawsuit that alleges defamation by Al Jazeera America over the December story that most-famously tied Peyton Manning of the NFL to HGH, but also included the names of prominent MLB players Ryan Howard and Zimmerman.

More on the lawsuit here:

And now there's word that  Howard has done so as well.

Immediately after the story broke, the attorney for both Howard and Zimmerman released the following statement:

"It's inexcusable and irresponsible that Al Jazeera would provide a platform and broadcast outright lies about Mr. Howard and Mr. Zimmerman. The extraordinarily reckless claims made against our clients in this report are completely false and rely on a source who has already recanted his claims. We will go to court to hold Al Jazeera and other responsible parties accountable for smearing our clients' good names."

A few days later, the Washington Post reported that the attorney -- on behalf of both Zimmerman and Howard -- sent a letter to Al Jazeera demanding a retraction. The Post noted that such an action is required before filing a defamation suit.

No retraction was issued, and now they have filed a suit.

A lawsuit is a pretty strong move of denial. The players have to go through the legal process, which opens them up to discovery and testimony in a deposition. It would surely be a high-profile suit with lots of information coming to light. Basically, it's unlikely a guilty person would risk it.

Ryan Zimmerman continues to vehemently deny allegations.
Ryan Zimmerman, along with Ryan Howard, continue to vehemently fight allegations. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered the last five World Series beginning with the epic 2011 Fall Classic. The former Indiana University... Full Bio

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