Peyton Manning suffers dent to his wholesome image

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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.

PEYTON MANNING THROUGH THE YEARS:

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Peyton Manning through the years
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Peyton Manning suffers dent to his wholesome image
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 30: Peyton Manning attends the SuperBowl Breakfast where he received the Bart Starr award at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on January 30, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images for Super Service Challenge)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) prepares to take the field prior to an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2014, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning passes against the Buffalo Bills during an NFL football game in Denver. A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Manning will return for a fourth season in Denver and 18th in the NFL. Manning will reduce his salary from $19 million to $15 million in 2015, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement. However, he can make up all of the $4 million pay cut by reaching certain performance benchmarks. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) celebrates his 509th career touchdown pass with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning looks to the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Diego Chargers Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 19: A digital display commemorates the NFL record 509th career passing touchdown by quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos in the second quarter of a game between the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 19: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos throws as he warms up before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 09: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos in action against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 9, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 07: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos runs the offense against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 7, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Colts 31-24. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 17: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos stands on the sidelines during their preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on August 17, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: NFL quarterback Peyton Manning accepts award at The 2014 ESPYS at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images For ESPYS)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - JANUARY 26: Starting quarterback Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos addresses the media on January 26, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos in action against the New England Patriots during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos in action against the New England Patriots during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 19: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after they defeated the New England Patriots 26 to 16 during the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 01: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos watches the scoreboard from the sidelines during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 15: Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos calls a play during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints congratulates Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos after the Broncos defeated the Saints 34-14 at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on October 28, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
ENGLEWOOD, CO - MAY 21: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos waits to talk to the local and national media following organized team activities at Dove Valley on May 21, 2012 in Englewood, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 20: Quarterback Peyton Manning (C) poses with majority owner, president, and CEO Pat Bowlen (L) and executive vice president of football operations John Elway (R) during a news conference announcing Manning's contract with the Denver Broncos in the team meeting room at the Paul D. Bowlen Memorial Broncos Centre on March 20, 2012 in Englewood, Colorado. Manning, entering his 15th NFL season, was released by the Indianapolis Colts on March 7, 2012, where he had played his whole career. It has been reported that Manning will sign a five-year, $96 million offer. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 3: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on from the side line during their NFL game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills defeated the Colts 30-7. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 01: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass during the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 1, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 14: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts waits to be introduced before playing the Detroit Lions on December 14, 2008 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 04: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts calls a play to his team in the second quarter of Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears defense on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts speaks during Media Day prior to Super Bowl XLI at Dolphins Stadium in Miami, Florida on January 30, 2007. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning warms up before play against the Cincinnati Bengals Dec. 18, 2006 in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. The Colts won 34 - 16. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick at a 2005 American Bowl press conference at the Tokyo Dome Hotel in Japan, Thursday August 4, 2005. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
MIAMI, : Miami Dolphins' defensive end Kenny Mixon (R) can't catch up to Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning (L) as he scrambles into the end zone for a touchdown during second quarter action 17 December 2000 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO/RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
18 Apr 1998: First overall pick Peyton Manning shows off his jersey after being selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York. Mandatory Credit: Ezra C. Shaw /Allsport
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 16: Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Peyton Manning looks for a received during a pre-season game with the San Diego Chargers 22 August at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo credit should read JOHN RUTHROFF/AFP/Getty Images)
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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.

Naughright's lawsuit against Manning was settled in 1997 with the agreement that she leave the university.

WIDE MEDIA EXPOSURE

The allegation that Manning sexually assaulted a female athletics trainer while in college was first reported in 2003, but gained wide exposure in social media networks on Saturday when it was described in detail in a New York Daily News column.

The filing of the lawsuit comes at a time when Manning, a future Hall of Fame quarterback who is a 14-time Pro Bowl selection, is being investigated by the league over allegations that he had human growth hormone sent to his house.

Those allegations surfaced in December in an Al-Jazeera report that said Manning's wife had received deliveries of HGH, which is banned by the NFL, while he was recovering from neck surgery during his tenure with the Indianapolis Colts.

Manning, 39, has denied the allegations, which have since been recanted by the key source of the report.

Meanwhile, Manning continues to consider whether he will retire from the game after he helped steer the Broncos to a 24-10 Super Bowl victory over the Carolina Panthers a week ago.

Manning, who revolutionized the position while winning a record five NFL most valuable player awards, said he wanted some time to reflect after playing in what many expect to be the final game of his storied career.

For most of his 18-year career, Manning has been a marketing dream for the NFL and also one of the United States' most popular athletes.

Chosen by the Indianapolis Colts with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, he projects a folksy charm with a disarming southern drawl that helps mask an off-the-charts football IQ and a fiery competitiveness.

Manning, who can be seen on television pitching everything from Papa John's Pizza to Nationwide Insurance, ranked number 32 on the Forbes 2015 list of highest paid athletes, making nearly as much in endorsements ($12 million) as salary ($15 million).

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