News has come out this week that alleges Eli Manning has swindled memorabilia dealers and merchandise buyers with phony game-worn collectibles. We don’t yet know what is true or which side to believe. The New York Giants have (obviously) come out in defense of Manning, saying the claims are a money grab by “unscrupulous” persons looking for a payday.
The public evidence in the case thus far seems to side with the dealers who claim Manning has screwed them. Emails have been revealed which state Manning was requesting “two helmets that can pass as game used” from New York’s equipment manager. No further context has been supplied for the comment, though. If connected with memorabilia dealings, this is clearly incriminating evidence. However, the statement may have nothing to do with that at all.
For collectors, merchandise that is game-used is far more valuable than a normal helmet, jersey, etc. Having an item that was used by said player in a contest makes it so much rarer than simply having an authentic item. An actual Giants helmet is great; a helmet that was worn during a game by Manning is (figuratively) one of a kind by comparison.
Thus far, Manning’s and the Giants’ defense is that these are false allegations. They haven’t proven innocence through any means, but they aren’t required to do so either. Instead, it is up to the side of the accusers to prove some level of guilt. An email that mentions the term “game used” doesn’t qualify as enough to this point. Additionally, Manning himself turned over the emails in question. That would seem to shine positively on the quarterback’s confidence in his innocence.
If indeed innocent, it isn’t clear why someone would target Manning specifically. He has been a good guy in this league and off the field for his entire career. A simple money grab may have led to Manning being targeted through Steiner Sports as the quarterback of New York’s (better) team. Otherwise, the only logical reason to implicate Manning is if he was actually involved or suspected to be involved in something nefarious.
Giants fans aren’t quite sure what to believe at the moment. The lawsuit began years ago. The trial is not scheduled to begin until this September. We want to side with our quarterback, but until more facts are released, this is a waiting game.