Some are calling it “Memorabiliagate” – new court papers containing copies of emails allegedly sent by Eli Manning seven years ago suggest the Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI most valuable player intentionally misrepresented authenticity of equipment he provided Steiner Sports Memorabilia as part of a deal he had with the company.
Manning allegedly emailed Giants equipment manager Joseph Skiba on April 27th 2010 with a simple request: provide Manning with “two helmets that can be passed as game used.” Manning’s agent Alan Zucker had been contacted by Steiner Sports about their desire for two “game used” helmets and jerseys.
Skiba later appeared to admit in an email to sports collector Eric Inselberg that the game used equipment provided was “bs” as Manning didn’t want to share actual game used jerseys. While it may not seem like much here, game used jerseys can fetch a lot of money, especially if a team has made it to the Super Bowl.
Tom Brady’s recently returned Super Bowl LI jersey has an estimated value of over $500,000. There is a difference between “game used” and “game issued” in these cases which results in drastically different valuations as to what the jersey in questions is actually worth.
The difference of course being that the “game issued” jersey is capable of being worn by the player in a game as it is issued to them for their use if needed, but ends up not being worn by the player and as a result has less historic value.
The plaintiffs are alleging that Manning engaged in a racketeering scheme to distribute and sell fraudulent memorabilia which is a serious allegation and whether they will be able to prove that is yet to be seen.
The Giants have responded with a statement that you can see below where they cite the allegations as “a misguided attempt to defame his character.”
The following statement was released on behalf of the NY Giants… pic.twitter.com/BfMHEBcu7V
— New York Giants (@Giants) April 13, 2017
Manning, Skiba and the Giants are among those named in the lawsuit from three memorabilia collectors. Manning and the Giants were first sued over the allegations in 2014 and one fake game used helmet from Manning is also supposedly in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.