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New York Giants news, 4/14: Eli Manning memorabilia scandal, more

What should we make of this allegation?

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Eli Manning
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Good morning, New York Giants fans! The big headline today is about the apparent Eli Manning memorabilia scandal, so let’s get into that.

In all honesty, I’m not sure what to make of it. I’m going to give you some of what’s been written and let you decide for yourselves whether you think this is a money grab by an unhappy memorabilia dealer or whether there is real wrongdoing by Manning. I don’t think we know for sure.

The New York Post broke the story:

A smoking gun email from Eli Manning proves he quarterbacked a conspiracy to defraud collectors by pawning off phony game-worn gear as the real deal, according to court documents obtained by The Post.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP, who has a contract with memorabilia dealer Steiner Sports, instructed a team manager to get the bogus equipment so it could be sold off as authentic, the papers say.

“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.

The Giants issued a statement defending Manning:

“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,” Karen Kessler, spokeswoman for Giants counsel McCarter & English, said Thursday. “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.”

The Daily News says Manning’s image could take a hit if he doesn’t address, and calls the allegations “completely out of character” for the quarterback.

Sports Illustrated explains why this issue is a big deal to memorabilia dealers and collectors:

In the sports memorabilia world, a “game used” or “game worn” jersey means something altogether different from a “game issued” jersey or an “authentic” jersey, and it has a greater value, too. A game used or game worn jersey is a jersey that was worn in an actual game. Such a jersey can have considerable value if worn by a star player in a key game. The recent controversy involving Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jerseys evidences that point: some collectors estimate that the Brady Super Bowl jerseys are worth over $500,000. This is because they were actually worn by Brady in his Super Bowl victories, which makes them unique, scarce and historic. A “game issued” jersey is identical to a game used jersey and was capable of being worn by a player in a game. It is different, however, because it wasn’t actually worn by the player in that game, and thus has less historic value. As to an “authentic” jersey, it is one that consumers can buy in stores, and is often signed by the player. A framed Eli Manning signed jersey can be bought for around $1,000 on steinersports.com.

Kerry Wynn visits Patriots

Giants defensive end Kerry Wynn, a restricted free agent, visited the New England Patriots on Thursday.

What happens is Wynn signs an offer sheet from New England? The Giants have the right to match whatever offer the Patriots make. If, however, they choose not to they would not receive compensation. That is because Wynn, a former unrestricted free agent, received the low-round tender from the Giants, worth $1.797 million.

Giants statements on the passing of Dan Rooney

Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch each issued statements Thursday on the death of Pittsburgh Steelers chairman Dan Rooney.

Mara:

“Dan Rooney was one of the greatest owners in all of professional sports. More than that he was a great friend who was a man of principle and a role model for any of us privileged to be a part of the NFL. He leaves a legacy on our sport that will last for generations.”

Tisch:

“For those of us who came into this league in the past 30 years, people like Dan Rooney and his family and the Maras, who we are fortunate to partner with, have shown the way, from what the NFL was founded upon to what it is that we all want it to be. Dan Rooney and his family, like the Maras, provided the foundation for the NFL that we all see today.”