Eli Manning, Giants sued for allegedly selling fake memorabilia
A bizarre lawsuit has been filed against Eli Manning and the New York Giants that claims the quarterback and team have been knowingly distributing football gear and passing it off as game-worn. According to court documents obtained by the NY Post, the Giants have taken new equipment and doctored it to make it appear like it was worn during games.
Eric Inselberg, a sports collector who was indicted for memorabilia fraud for selling fake used sports jerseys in 2011, filed the suit against the team on Wednesday in an attempt at retribution. Inselberg claims a helmet on display at the Hall of Fame in Canton that was supposedly worn by Manning during the 2008 Super Bowl is one of dozens of “fake” items that the Giants have created.
The court documents allege that Manning took part in the scheme so he could keep personal items for himself. Inselberg claims that Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba openly discussed Manning’s phony gear in an email exchange back in 2008.
“Hey Joe, my buddy was offered an eli game used helmet and jersey,” an email sent from Inselberg’s account read. “Are these the bs ones eli asked you to make up because he didnt want to give up the real stuff?”
An account under “firstname.lastname@example.org” wrote back, “BS ones, you are correct…”
One particular incident that the lawsuit highlights allegedly took place in 2001, when Inselberg says longtime Giants locker-room manager Ed Wagner Jr. told Giants dry cleaner Barry Barone to “intentionally damage multiple jerseys to make them appear to have been game-worn when they had not been.” Ingelberg claims he walked in to find Barone “using a big pair of scissors to cut up a set of Giants’ 2000 season’s game-issued white jerseys,’’ so he could “‘repair’ those damages” to make the shirts look used.
Another claim that is cited in the lawsuit alleges that Manning asked Skiba for an old, beat-up game helmet, which he autographed and put on the market, later claiming he wore it during a game in his 2004 rookie season.
In 2008, Skiba allegedly took a helmet and doctored it to make it appear as though Manning wore it during the 2008 Super Bowl. The lawsuit claims the phony helmet was ordered by a Giants front office member after he learned the original had been sold to Inselberg. The fake helmet was supposedly given to the Hall of Fame.
A representative for the Giants denied the allegations.
“This suit is completely without any merit whatsoever and we will defend it vigorously,” the rep said. “We will not otherwise comment on pending litigation.”
The lawsuit lists a number of other details and specific stories that make a compelling case against the Giants. As we know, there are two sides to everything. Don’t be surprised if the Giants manage to make this go away.
H/T SI Hot Clicks