A dealer of sports memorabilia from New Jersey has accused New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning of teaming up with an equipment manager to fool collectors into believing the helmets they were buying were used in a game. Eric Inselberg is the plaintiff who has filed a lawsuit against Manning and the Giants back in 2014, and jury selection is scheduled to start this week.
According to a story posted on CNBC.com from the Associated Press, if there is no settlement reached at the last minute between the attorneys representing Inselberg and Manning, the two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback could have to take the stand to defend himself against the accusations that he presented helmets as if they were used in a game when he knew that they were not.
While denying the strong accusations, Manning and the Giants have turned the tables on the plaintiff by saying that Inselberg is a well-known scam artist who has taken advantage of countless buyers of memorabilia by selling pieces that are totally fake. Manning’s attorneys have implied that the attorneys representing Inselberg have used the media to create a story that they have described as “inflammatory and baseless.”
The original lawsuit claims that Inselberg and two other plaintiffs had purchased two helmets that were supposedly worn during games. One of those helmets was reportedly purchased under the assumption that Manning had worn it during the 2007-08 season, which ended with a Super Bowl victory by the Giants over the previously undefeated New England Patriots.
According to Inselberg, experts used a technique of “photomatching” to prove that the helmets he purchased were not actually used in a game. Manning’s team has argued that this technique is not valid because of the fact that helmets are often reconditioned after a game.
However, in April 2017, the attorneys for the plaintiff filed documents with the court that show emails between Manning and a member of the equipment staff. In one of the emails, Manning instructs Joseph Skiba to obtain “2 helmets that can pass as game used.” However, none of the emails specifically refer to the two helmets at the center of the lawsuit. Manning’s attorneys have stated that the wording of the email in question is a confirmation that Manning was making certain the helmets he received from Skiba would be able to satisfy the requirement of having actually been used in a game.