Attorney for Howard, Zimmerman denies PED report

Attorney for Howard, Zimmerman denies PED report

PHILADELPHIA -- The lawyer for Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman vehemently denied a report that they received performance-enhancing drugs, calling the claims "outright lies" and vowing to fight them in court.

William Burck of Quinn Emanuel represents Howard and Zimmerman. He released the following statement, condemning an Al Jazeera report scheduled to air on Sunday:

"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."

The Phillies issued the following statement on Sunday night in response to the report:

"Ryan Howard has vigorously denied the allegations contained in tonight's airing of Al Jazeera's report titled 'The Dark Side.' Ryan has spent his whole career with the Phillies and, during that entire time, has been an extremely well respected member of our team and an outstanding contributor to our community. We will fully cooperate with any investigation conducted by Major League Baseball and will refer all further questions to them concerning the Al Jazeera report."

Howard's representation referred questions regarding the report to Burck's statement.

"Major League Baseball was not made aware of the allegations until yesterday and was not provided information other than what has been reported," an MLB spokesman said in a statement. "We intend to conduct a thorough investigation."

Howard and Zimmerman were mentioned in an undercover investigative report by the network. The report included Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and other NFL and MLB players, including Taylor Teagarden. But the source in the report, Charlie Sly, has since recanted his comments.

"The statements on any recordings or communications that Al Jazeera plans to air are absolutely false and incorrect," Sly said in a story by The Associated Press. "To be clear, I am recanting any such statements -- and there is no truth to any statement of mine that Al Jazeera plans to air. Under no circumstances should any of those recordings, statements or communications be aired."

The Nationals stood behind their longest-tenured player.

"Ryan Zimmerman has been an integral member of the Washington Nationals family for the past 11 years," the team said in a statement. "During that time, he has been the model for all that we ask of our players to be -- contributing to his team, to his community, and to the game of baseball.

"We do not find Al Jazeera's report -- which has already been recanted by their source -- to be credible.

"Ryan has unequivocally stated that these allegations are false. The Lerner family and our organization fully support him. We are confident Major League Baseball's investigation will show the allegations levied in the report are unfounded.

"We will fully cooperate with MLB, and refer all questions to them at this time."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Zo Zone. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.