A lawsuit between Giants quarterback Eli Manning and a sports memorabilia collector, Steiner Sports, has been ongoing since 2014. The lawsuit alleges that Manning and the Giants were in on a scheme in which phony game-worn gear was passed off as real.
Items alleged to have been distributed include a helmet on display in Canton, along with two 2012 Super Bowl helmets and a 2004 helmet from Manning’s rookie season. According to the New York Post, the documents say Manning participated in the ruse so he could keep the real items.
Here’s what we know about the situation.
Manning, the Giants, and others are being sued for alleged involvement
The Giants, Eli Manning, team equipment manager Joe Skiba, Steiner Sports, and others, including team co-owner and CEO John Mara, are being sued for the allegedly fake memorabilia.
The lawsuit claims that Barry Barone, who has been the team’s dry cleaner since 1982, used his store to “beat up” jerseys and other items for locker room manager Ed Wagner Jr. so they would look authentic.
Items include various helmets and jerseys passed off as “game-worn”
According to the New York Post’s original report on the lawsuit, a helmet in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton that was supposedly worn by Manning in Super Bowl XLII against the Patriots is one of the dozens of fake items.
Other fake items include “several” Manning jerseys, as well as a pair of 2012 Super Bowl helmets. One of the incidents came in 2005, when Manning allegedly asked Skiba for an old beat-up game helmet, signed it, and then put it on the market as a helmet from his rookie season.
The lawsuit also claims Skiba doctored a helmet from 2008 to make it appear as the one Manning wore in the Super Bowl that season.
Manning’s recently revealed emails are back in the news
Last week, Manning passed along his emails to New Jersey’s Bergen County Superior Court.
In the emails via the New York Post, Alan Zucker, Manning’s marketing agent, asked him to send “2 game used helmets and 2 game used jerseys” to provide to Steiner Sports in 2010.
After the request was sent, Skiba sent Manning an email saying “Let me know what your looking for I’ll try to get something down for you…,” according to the Post.
“2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli,” Manning allegedly responded from his BlackBerry. Then 17 minutes later, Manning wrote back to Zucker, saying: “Should be able to get them for tomorrow.”
Coincidentally, the emails were revealed the same week that Sports Illustrated did a longform about the recovery of Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jerseys. In the article, former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said a collector emailed him claiming to have purchased his game-worn Super Bowl XLII jersey, helmet, pants, and thigh pads from a Giants equipment manager.
Jacobs took to Instagram to defend Manning in the lawsuit:
The Giants’ lawyers say Manning’s emails were taken out of context
A statement was released on behalf of the New York Giants with regard to the lawsuit.
The following statement was released on behalf of the NY Giants… pic.twitter.com/BfMHEBcu7V
— New York Giants (@Giants) April 13, 2017
Steiner Sports has yet to comment on the situation.
Eli Manning denies accusations involving scandal
Manning spoke to reporters on Thursday, denying the recent accusations against him.
Uncharacteristically, Manning was rather heated in telling reporters, “I have never done what I’ve been accused of doing.”
— Jason Leach (@JasonKLeach) April 20, 2017
Manning told reporters, “I have no reason, nor have I ever had any reason to do anything of that nature. I’ve done nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide.”
Manning said that he could not answer specifics to the case.