An angry Eli Manning insists he has done nothing wrong and has nothing to hide.
The New York Giants quarterback vehemently denied accusations that he knowingly provided fake game-used memorabilia to collectors, as was suggested in a recent lawsuit.
Manning turned over a potentially incriminating email earlier this month in connection with a lawsuit that claims the quarterback, the Giants and a team equipment manager knowingly provided memorabilia that was not worn in games.
he email was included in a court filing in Bergen County (New Jersey) Superior Court by the plaintiffs — collectors Eric Inselberg, Michael Jakab and Sean Godown — who first filed suit three years ago.
On Thursday, Manning said he was angry about the claims and that the emails were “taken out of context.”
According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, Manning and the Giants submitted a new filing Wednesday that they believe will clear Manning’s name.
“I’ve tried to do everything with class and be a stand-up citizen,” Manning said. “That’s what I have done and that’s being attacked right now.
“I’m just more angry than anything … having to deal with this and knowing that I did nothing wrong and [am] still being attacked.”
Manning went on say to that because this is pending litigation, he would not be able to answer any questions or get into specific details about the lawsuit.
“I will say that I’ve never done what I’ve been accused of doing. I have no reason, nor have I ever had any reason, to do anything of that nature,” Manning said. “I’ve done nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide. And I know that when this is all done everybody will see it the same way.”
On April 27, 2010, Manning sent an email to Giants head equipment manager Joe Skiba asking for “two helmets that can pass as game used.” The email was initiated after Manning was sent a note by Alan Zucker, his marketing agent throughout his career, to come up with some equipment to satisfy his obligation to provide such materials to sports memorabilia company Steiner Sports.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Brian Brook of Clinton, Brook & Peed, say that the email, included among roughly 200 pages of documents Manning produced as part of legal discovery, was key to specifically linking the quarterback to the lawsuit, which alleges an elaborate scheme to produce, pass off and sell memorabilia as game-used that was not.
Before that email, the lawsuit had included only an alleged conversation between Manning and Skiba to put together some equipment that could be described as game-used. The lawsuit alleges that Manning not only had been aware of the passing off of inauthentic items of his as game-used but also was party to their creation.
The suit also alleges that the Giants were complicit by deleting the email from their accounts.
Brandon Steiner, the CEO of Steiner Sports, said Monday on Facebook Live that he’s hoping the items Manning gave to him and presented as game-used, that he then sold, were legitimate, but he isn’t sure at this time.
“When Eli Manning walks into your office and he says, ‘These are my game-used items,’ then I’d like to think that I can believe that,” Steiner said.
Steiner said Monday his company has had a deal with Manning since his 2003 rookie season and that for a period of about five years, Manning threw in two to three game-used items per season as part of a bonus to his contract.