Usually when you hear about bogus stuff involving sports memorabilia, it’s companies pawning off forgeries. This latest one I heard about is interesting, because it involves the athlete. And I’ve often wondered if athletes did this.
One of the reasons I’ve thought about it is hearing pro athletes talk about all the stuff fans want to buy from them. Another reason is when I worked as a morning DJ at a radio station, we had an attractive DJ working the afternoon shift. When we were auctioning off items for a charity (some of them autographed by musicians who had come in for interviews), somebody called in and said they’d give us $100 for an autographed bra from said DJ. We called her (off the air) and she said “No way, that’s creepy.” We told her it was for charity, but she wouldn’t budge. Finally, I said “What if I go buy a bra from the store. I’ll tell them it is one that you wore and then autographed.”
She agreed to that, and signed one cup, and inscribed the other. The bidding got up to a thousand bucks. It was a success, but you know what? Technically, it was a bogus item. She had never worn the bra. She merely signed it. Sure, I picked one up that was the same cup size. But ya know what? I digress (that happens when I talk about 42D breasts).
Sports autographs are always dicey when it comes to purchases. We’ve all read those articles where the FBI has claimed that 90% of the autographed sports memorabilia is fake. Well, it was always a safe assumption that if you did purchase something from the player directly (ie their website or charity), you’re getting the real deal [although, if you read that Jerry Lee Lewis thread on this site, you can’t be so sure about that either].
There’s a civil lawsuit currently that accuses New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning of knowingly defrauding collectors.
In the case, documents show a 2010 email in which Manning asked an equipment manager of the team to produce “two helmets that can pass as game-used” for Manning’s co-defendant, Steiner Sports. They were later marketed and sold as authentic.
There are a lot of stories about how this will hurt Manning’s value in regards to commercial endorsements. I think that’s not a big deal. Heck, his brother got away with sexually harassing a woman, settled with her twice -- and he still seems to be on lots of commercials (although he’s also a much better QB). It’s merely merchandise he may try to pitch that might take a hit. It’s estimated that Eli makes about $8 million a year in endorsements (not bad for a QB that’s merely above average, in my opinion).
The trial starts in September, and it seems, the Giants may be in a bit of trouble for deleting emails about the case. That’s a violation of team policy.
Three plaintiffs are seeking unspecified damages.
What I’ve always found fascinating with legal cases, are the BS arguments defendants try to make. For example, after OJ Simpson killed his wife and Ron (allegedly), he told his friend he didn’t want to take a lie detector because he’s had dreams of killing her, so that might cause him to fail one. The defense in this case said, “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.”
Uh, yeah. Why not seek a big payday?
I wonder how the email ever got out if it was merely sent to an equipment manager. I also wonder why, in this day and age, anybody would write ANYTHING incriminating in an email. If I was ever involved in illegal activity, I’d consider asking for the favor in person. Example: Hi Mr. Cyrkin. I know, I know...I shouldn’t have shown up at your house unexpectedly. But...can you help me bury this body I have in the trunk of my car?”
There’s talk that this case could lead to the NFL suspending him for their personal conduct policy. I doubt that will happen. An NFL quarterback once killed dogs and had a dog fighting ring. He was back in the league a few years later. An NFL player, and one of the best defensive players ever, was involved in a murder. He had blood on his suit. He lied to investigators, and….he never missed a game.
Now, for no reason at all (other then I like Three Dog Night), I’ll end with this:
Eli's comin' (Eli's a-comin')
Well you better hide your heart, your loving heart
Eli's a-comin' and the cards say... a broken heart