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The Eli Manning MemorabiliaGate Lawsuit is Back and Better Than Ever


ESPN - Lawyers for the New York Giants and for the collectors suing the team, quarterback Eli Manning and others for alleged memorabilia fraud traded barbs in court filings this week.

The collectors’ lawyers continued to assert their claims that Manning, the Giants, their equipment director and Steiner Sports were complicit in memorabilia fraud. The Giants’ attorneys, in their most extensive filing to date, maintained that those suing them have yet to prove they’ve done anything wrong. …

Along with producing transcripts of their depositions Monday, the plaintiffs introduced the findings of John Robinson of Resolution Photo-Matching. Robinson, an expert witness for the plaintiffs, said that photos of four out of five helmets didn’t match what was sold as game-used Eli Manning pieces, and that Manning likely never used them in a game. …

The plaintiffs’ attorneys also introduced the deposition of Giants president and CEO John Mara, taken in December, in which Mara said he wasn’t aware that there was any memorabilia controversy until the lawsuit was filed, even though the plaintiffs show that the Giants’ in-house counsel Bill Heller received a letter on the topic as early as 2011. …

“After over a year of discovery, and hiring their own expert, the Giants still haven’t shown that Eli Manning gave a single real helmet to Steiner Sports,” Brian C. Brook of Clinton Brook and Peed, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told ESPN.

Brook said Steiner Sports has another helmet, sold as a 2010 game-used helmet worn by Manning, that a customer returned in May of last year. Brook alleges the company has concealed the helmet from discovery. …

Much of Manning’s testimony was redacted from public consumption. Any correspondence with or questions about the NFL’s involvement in the case were also redacted in the depositions.

Well, well, well. Let’s hear it for the American court system. It’s good to know that the Giants, the Maras and the Manning crime family were not successful in getting the MemoribiliaGate lawsuit broomed. Granted, the rest of the world may have tried to forget about it. But Lady Justice’s terrible swift sword continues to strike blows of righteousness and hack off limbs of fraud and deceit.

What we know from the last court proceedings is that on April 27, 2010, Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba sent Eli Manning an email to Manning’s AOL account (because of course he uses AOL) that said, “Let me know what your looking for I’ll try to get something down for you.” To which Eli replied “2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli.”

But now, thanks to the intrepid work of the good people at Clinton Brook and Peed (Note: Really? They put Peed at the end?), we now know that the lies go all the way to the top. John Mara is claiming not to know about his team getting sued when his own lawyer was served. Forensics proves the Eli helmets sold as game-used were right-out-of-the-box forgeries. And they can’t produce a single helmet they’ve sold that was legit. It’s consumer fraud on a scale that should have the whole operation indicted under RICO.

What do we always hear? That the cover up is worse than the crime? Why then are the depositions by the Runt of the Manning Litter redacted? And why specifically the stuff about the NFL’s involvement? Roger Goodell uses the word “transparency” as often as I use the word “Brady.” Then what are they trying to hide?

The bottom line here is let’s just all make the presumption that Eli is guilty. Of an actual crime: fraud. That his CEO knew all about it. There’s a conspiracy to cheat and ripoff fans by the entire Giants organization. And the only way to prove their innocence is for Eli to turn over his phone and give us all a look at what’s on there. And if he refuses, then we can get onto part where he gets suspended and the Giants lose draft picks. After all, the NFL is all about protecting the integrity of the shield.