Eli Manning is in the midst of a massive four-year $84 million deal that guarantees him $65 million. That doesn’t sound like the background of a man with incentive to falsify memorabilia, but according to a report, that’s exactly what happened.
The New York Post has reported Manning was in on a scheme that involved people selling game-worn gear that was never actually game-worn.
The papers obtained state Manning sent an email to the team’s equipment manager asking him for “helmets that can pass as game used.”
Not a smoking gun, but also not exactly innocent free looking evidence.
The filing also alleges the New York Giants didn’t follow up on a request for access to Manning’s AOL (yes, of course Eli uses AOL) account that was used to send an email to an official NFL account. However, Manning did later turn over the email last week that connects him to a civil racketeering lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, Manning, the Giants, and others are accused of jointly conspiring to “fleece collectors of authentic athletic uniforms worn on the playing field.”
Manning’s involvement in this scheme reportedly started way back in 2010 when his marketing agent Alan Zucker emailed Manning to supply him with “2 game used helmets and 2 game used jerseys”, which Manning was contractually required to offer. However, after he received the email, the QB also received an email from equipment manager Joe Skiba that said “let me know what your looking for I’ll try to get something down for you….”
Eli responded later on from his BlackBerry (yes a BlackBerry) that he was looking for two helmets that “can pass as game used.”
The emails were filed on Tuesday at New Jersey’s Bergen County Superior Court. The Giants, Manning, Skiba, Steiner Sports, team co-owner and CEO John Mara, and others are being sued by three memorabilia collectors.
“Manning was looking to give non-game-used helmets to Steiner to satisfy — fraudulently — his contractual obligation,” the plaintiffs’ lawyer Brian Brook said. “Since it appears that the Giants failed to preserve any emails between Manning and Joe Skiba, and the Giants are keeping Skiba on the payroll and paying his substantial legal bills, the above email exchange may be the only direct evidence that Manning knowingly gave fraudulent helmets to Steiner for sale to fans.”
Brook told The Post the Giants haven’t addressed the email issue and that “it appears to be the case that someone at the Giants organization deleted (the emails).”
Even without the emails however, Skiba allegedly already admitted Manning asked him to create “BS” versions of game-used helmets and jerseys because Manning wanted to keep the authentic helmets and jerseys.
Basically, everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else.
The Giants responded:
The following statement was released on behalf of the NY Giants… pic.twitter.com/BfMHEBcu7V
— New York Giants (@Giants) April 13, 2017
This is, in all honesty, just a hodgepodge of information. On one hand, Skiba, Manning, and company seem to be on the same page since they are being sued by the same three memorabilia collectors.
On the other hand, Skiba is basically accusing Manning of getting him involved in this scheme when he may have not wanted to be involved.
The end result? Who knows, but I’m sure Manning and the Giants have enough money to make this all go away.