Leon Washington trading card controversy

Beckett Football magazine editor David Lee first met Jets rookie running back Leon Washington last May at the 2006 Rookie Premiere Photo Shoot.

In fact, Lee reports that Washington was the friendliest player at the event. Lee reports that Washington was talkative and energetic.

So you can image Lee's surprise six months later when he ran across Washington's 2006 Bowman Signs of the Future card and it appeared that Washington was giving his own sign to fans and card collectors.

"I received some e-mails from some of our readers asking me to check out Leon's Topps Bowman card," Lee notes. "I did a double take when I looked at it because I couldn't believe this card got past the photo editors at Topps. I called Topps right away and they issued a statement right away. We have tried to reach out to the Jets but have been unsuccessful in reaching Leon."

Lee documented this gesture in a recent feature on Beckett.com and since then, Washington's now-infamous card has been selling for as much as $70. Prior to the discovery of Washington's "finger-pointing" incident, the card was selling in the $5 to $12 range.

Topps is calling the release of this card an oversight and is offering a replacement for collectors.

"In no way does Topps condone this type of behavior to be photographed for its trading cards and is deeply embarrassed that this photograph was not deleted in the early stages of the editing process," a Topps company spokesperson says. "We apologize for this oversight and recommend collectors to return the card to Topps for a randomly chosen replacement autograph card from our 2006 Bowman football product."

The address for those who wish to have the card replaced is: The Topps Company, Leon Washington Card Return, PO Box 766, Pittston, PA 18640.

Beckett experts say they don't anticipate Washington's flippant gesture creating a premium for this card long term, but Washington's solid performance this season and continued collector interest could drive the price even higher in the short term.


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