New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is facing a lawsuit from a group of sports memorabilia collectors over allegations that the veteran knowingly provided them with non-authentic game-worn memorabilia.
According to a 2010 email from the 36-year-old Manning to Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba, Manning asked him for two helmets that “can pass as game worn” at the request of his marketing agent, Alan Zucker, for the memorabilia company, Steiner Sports.
Also in the chain of emails turned into the Bergen County Superior Court in New Jersey was a message from the two-time Super Bowl champion to Zucker in which Manning told him that he should be able to get the memorabilia for the next day.
The lawsuit claims that Manning and the Giants were involved in some elaborate scheme to give and sell game-used equipment that really wasn’t, and that the Giants tried to cover up any trace of their activity by deleting Manning’s email.
McCarter English, the law firm representing Manning and the New York Giants, issued a statement saying the following:
“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. The email predates any litigation, and there was no legal obligation to store it on the Giants server.
The alleged scandal comes as a surprise to many in the NFL community, as Eli Manning and the Manning family in general has always been revered as one of the most ethical, moral and respectable in the league.
“Eli Manning is well known for his integrity,” said McCarter English in their statement. “This is just the latest misguided attempt to defame his character.”