Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning was released from his contract with the Indianapolis Colts on March 7. Manning had played for the Colts for eleven years, but was put on the bench as he underwent surgeries over the course of his twelfth season.
Colts fans became emotional when they discovered that Manning wouldn’t be a part of the Colts for a thirteenth season. Some residents voiced their displeasure with Manning’s departure from his long-time team, but others were more upset that Indianapolis would be losing a very influential and well-liked celebrity.
“[Peyton] has been a huge part of Indy for so long,” said Anna Elliot, Indianapolis resident and employee of the Colts Pro Shop in downtown Indianapolis. As one might imagine, sales at the store were affected with the news that Manning was leaving the team.
“Everyone is stocking up on all the Peyton gear they can get their hands on, because he has built such a huge fan base in all his years here,” said Elliot. “People want to get jerseys or memorabilia before it’s all gone.”
“So many fans are fans of the Colts specifically because of what he has done for our team and what he has done for our city,” said Elliot. “He hasn’t just been a good football player but he has been an amazing man to represent our city.”
Manning has certainly represented himself well over his past decade in Indianapolis, including various donations he’s made to organizations like the St. Vincent Children’s Hospital—which is now named after him—but some are undecided as to whether the contributions he’s made entitle him to any degree of respect or not.
“I don’t feel as though Peyton is betraying Indianapolis or the Colts if he goes to play for another team,” said Ian Hinton, Indianapolis resident. “I feel he is trying to do what’s best for himself.”
Hinton wasn’t the only resident who felt that way. Jacob Bean, another resident of Indianapolis, agrees with Hinton about Manning’s departure.
“Professional sports is a business, and people who work in the industry will go to where the money is at,” said Bean. “My view on the Colts, after Peyton has left, is neutral. They sucked without him this past season, […] but at the same time I can’t blame them if they relied on Peyton.”
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