Well, Eli Manning’s offseason just got a whole lot more interesting.
Potentially damning evidence has emerged in the ongoing memorabilia fraud case between New York Giants signal caller Eli Manning and some sports memorabilia collectors. The suit alleges that Manning cooperated with memorabilia dealer Steiner Sports to sell helmets to fans who thought they were purchasing game-used helmets.
Among court documents obtained by the New York Post is an email from Manning to a Giants equipment manager in 2010. In the email, Manning asks the equipment manager if he could provide, “2 helmets that can pass as game used.”
Manning’s apparent lack of concern over whether or not the helmets were game-used authentic has the plaintiff’s attorney Brian Brook up in arms. Brook told the New York Post, that the email constitutes, “direct evidence that Manning knowingly gave fraudulent helmets to Steiner for sale to fans.”
The email, disclosed by Manning and his attorneys, originated from Manning’s private account.
The Giants released a statement on the matter shortly after the Post story broke. According to Karren Kessler, spokesperson for McCarter & English, the law firm representing the Giants, “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. Eli Manning is well known for his integrity and this is just the latest misguided attempt to defame his character.”
Though this incident occurred away from the field, if found guilty Manning could still face a possible suspension by the league if the NFL finds the offense “conduct detrimental,” or in violation of the conduct policy.
The Giants and the team’s equipment manager have also been named in the suit, along with Manning and Steiner Sports.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn