Judge denies man's bid to change name to Peyton Manning
By Tony Reid | Wednesday, March 28, 2007
DECATUR — Scott Wiese's rush to become Peyton Manning was sacked by a judge Monday: She ruled he cannot change his name to that of the star quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.
Wiese said that Macon County Circuit Judge Katherine McCarthy told him the name change was too confusing and risked infringing the privacy of the football player.
Wiese had gone through with the legal name change attempt to fulfill a bet with friends. The 26-year-old Forsyth man - a diehard Chicago Bears fan - had pledged that if his beloved team lost in the Super Bowl, he would change his name to the player who led the Indianapolis nemesis to victory.
''I had told the judge that I was not doing this because I wanted to change my name, but I was doing it because I was honoring a bet,'' Wiese said. ''I think she understood that.''
His lawyer and friend, Andy Bourey, thought going in that Wiese had a 50-50 chance of getting away with the name change.
''The judge had to do a kind of balancing test, to see if the reason he was changing his name was outweighed by the consequences of what he was changing his name to,'' said Bourey, 30. ''She was really good-hearted about it all, and I think she had a little bit of mercy for him because I am sure she knew this wasn't something he was excited about doing.''
Wiese's attempt to become Peyton Manning generated a publicity storm with newspapers, television and radio shows coast to coast queuing up to interview him. The frenzy even reached into the courts facility on Monday.
''The judge was telling us afterwards that all of the judges had earlier turned up to a meeting holding Peyton Manning masks,'' Wiese said. ''They had these things taped to wooden sticks and held them in front of their faces. They also left a football and a Chicago Bears hat in the courtroom.''
Two people overjoyed at Monday's court outcome were Wiese's parents, Debbie and Steve. They had filed an official objection to the name change with the court.
''Wiese is our family name, and we're proud of it,'' said Debbie, 54. ''And we just thought that if he was going to change his name, it should be for a better reason than that. I also didn't want to go through the rest of my life calling my son 'Peyton Manning.'''
Wiese said there will be no appeal, and so the judge's decision is final. He isn't expecting another publicity frenzy over the outcome but already was booked to appear on a Los Angeles-based radio talk show Tuesday afternoon.