ESPN just published this article about the Eli Manning/Steiner game used memorabilia controversy. It looks to me like there are multiple reputations at stake. As bad as it makes Manning look, Steiner doesn't come off as looking a whole lot better. I understand that "dealers make mistakes," but Steiner sells themselves as ironclad - a rock solid safe bet for collectors, especially when it comes to modern athletes they personally represent and have exclusive deals with. It's reflected in their prices for certain. It doesn't do them any favors to have to use verbiage such as "I'd like to think" and stories about misguided trust. That is not what their customers are paying for.
In all fairness, Steiner received the items from the player directly. At that point, what further due diligence is necessary? And, Steiner is offering a full refund:
Steiner said that prior to any conclusive findings, anyone who bought one of the dozen or so game-used Manning items from him over the years could get a complete refund now.
What else can they do?
I'm admittedly being harsh, but, again, people pay a premium for the Steiner name. I have very little sympathy when it comes to this company and some of their practices. Maybe unfair, but a company like this should not be dabbling in things like this. If the whole process of obtaining game used equipment - for which consumers are sometimes charged thousands of dollars for the "guarantee" of it having been as represented - is spotty and ambiguous, then it's something Steiner shouldn't be sticking their nose in.
If anything good has come of this, it's enlightenment on how bad the authentication process for "game used" equipment actually is. "Dude said it's real" is rarely encouraging anymore.
Fair points. Hopefully this has been a big lesson for Steiner and all other companies who deal in game used and they'll adjust going forward.
Whether Manning is guilty or not, the takeaway is that the days of taking players at their word may be over. There's too much money and temptation... there are some people who will not be honest.
Steve, I'm not entirely sure that's true. While Brandon had a contract with Eli, and Eli represented the items as game used to Brandon, didn't the EQ manager gather and deliver the items?
It's possible the EQ manager misunderstood the directions about finding game used items that look game used to mean doctor use, but that becomes a question of intent.
Honestly, if this goes to trial, I think it comes down to whose legal team is more effective. I can see multiple scenarios under which Manning and Steiner both believe the items to be authentic, yet the items turn out not to be: the least of which being the possibility that he plaintiff doctored items himself, then somehow forged Steiner holograms.
In my limited experience, Steiner autographed items have serial numbers on the holofoil stickers, but game used items don't. The few items I have from Steiner have two stickers: one for autograph witness and the other for game used authentication. The accompanying cards and letters of authenticity reflect these representations, as well.