Giants’ Eli Manning at center of sports memorabilia scandal – Los Angeles Times
Eli Manning’s squeaky-clean image could take a hit after the New York Giants quarterback turned over an email in connection with a lawsuit accusing the organization and some of its members of taking part in a sports memorabilia scam.
In the April 2010 email to the Giants’ equipment manager, Manning asks for “helmets that can pass as game used.”
That and other related emails were included in a filing submitted Tuesday to New Jersey’s Bergen County Superior Court. Manning turned over the emails last week, according to court documents. The New York Post was first to report on the emails.
Three memorabilia collectors are suing the Giants, Manning, team equipment manager Joe Skiba, memorabilia dealer Brandon Steiner and others, claiming they produced and sold items as game-used when they weren’t.
Manning has a contract with memorabilia dealer Steiner Sports to provide items such as helmets and jerseys that were used in games to be sold to collectors. According to court documents, Manning’s business manager, Alan Zucker, sent the two-time Super Bowl champ an email on April 27, 2010, asking for some game-used equipment to send to Steiner.
Later that day, Manning got an email from Skiba asking what kind of items he needed. Manning responded in an email: “2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli.”
According to ESPN, the lawsuit also alleges that the Giants are complicit in the scandal because the email had been deleted from their accounts.
“The email, taken out of context, was shared with the media by an unscrupulous memorabilia dealer and his counsel who for years has been seeking to leverage a big payday,” McCarter & English, the law firm representing the Giants in the case, said in a statement. “The email predates any litigation, and there was no legal obligation to store it on the Giants server. Eli Manning is well known for his integrity and this is just the latest misguided attempt to defame his character.”
Manning has steered clear of trouble during his 13-year NFL career and was presented the league’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, along with Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, this past season. But soon after the emails became public, the New York Post and New York Daily News were referring to Manning as “E-Lie” in front-page headlines.
The Giants and their employees likely won’t be subject to criminal prosecution over the matter because the federal five-year statute of limitations has passed. The trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 25.