Giants quarterback Eli Manning is listed as the star witness in a civil court case scheduled to begin next week in New Jersey that accuses the star quarterback of being involved in a scheme to fraudulently market and sell Giants helmets as his “game-used” memorabilia.
The Giants and sports collectibles company Steiner Sports, which has long sold Manning’s game-used paraphenalia, also are listed as defendants in the four-year-old memorabilia fraud lawsuit.
The Giants are accused of not doing anything when first told of fraudulent Manning memorabilia making its way to Steiner years ago. The witness list also includes Giants co-owner John Mara and Brandon Steiner, the CEO of Steiner Sports.
The lawsuit was filed in January 2014 by sports memorabilia entrepreneur Eric Inselberg and has since been amended to include collectors Michael Jakab and Sean Godown.
Attorneys for Manning, the Giants, Steiner Sports and the three memorabilia collectors who filed the lawsuit either declined to comment or did not return messages seeking comment.
Manning has said he’s done nothing wrong. It will up to the jury to decide what he meant when he emailed a Giants equipment manager in 2010 asking for two helmets that “can pass as game used.”
“2 helmets that can pass as game used. That is it. Eli,” Manning wrote to equipment manager Joe Skiba from a BlackBerry on April 27, 2010, according to the documents.
Manning’s contract with Steiner calls for him to provide two game-used helmets to sell to the public, according to court documents. Eli looks like a pretty good guy, but you really never know what people are like behind the scenes. We’ll see if he actually lets this go to trial.