Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has followed through on his earlier words: He's suing Al Jazeera and reporters involved with a recent doping story.

ESPN reported that Howard is joined in the lawsuit by Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

6ABC added that Howard released a statement, saying, "Today I authorized my attorneys to file suit against Al Jazeera and its reporters. Their irresponsible reporting forced me to take this action to protect my name and to fight back against the spreading of these lies. I will have no further comment, as the filing itself contains all I need to say."

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Many athletes named in the Al Jazeera story "emphatically denied" the allegations made in the report.

Sports Illustrated explained that the story "implicated several athletes in a performance-enhancing drug trade. Among them were Zimmerman and Howard, who were alleged to have bought and used the drug Delta-2, a hormone supplement, and human growth hormone from an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic."

The primary source in Al Jazeera's report, former pharmaceutical intern Charlie Sly, recanted his story, according to Sports Illustrated

Libel or defamation suits are generally rare – the legal threshold is very high for public figures, like professional athletes, to overcome.

In other words, Howard is making an incredibly strong statement by filing suit in the first place.