New York Giants quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning has reached a settlement with three memorabilia collectors over allegedly providing bogus “game-worn” equipment to the unsuspecting fans on Monday.
A spokesman for the defendants, a group that included Manning, the Giants, two equipment managers and Steiner Sports, the company with whom Manning is under contract to provide game-worn jerseys and helmets for sale, said Monday night a settlement had been reached to resolve the claims.
Details of the settlement were not given.
Attorneys for both sides provided a joint statement to ESPN, saying the settlement “should not be viewed as supporting any allegations, claims or defenses.”
“All parties are grateful to have the matter, which began in 2014, concluded and are now focused on football, the fans and the future,” the statement added.
The trial against Manning was expected to begin soon, with jury selection scheduled for Monday in New Jersey, according to The Associated Press.
The two-time Super Bowl-winning athlete was accused of working with the team’s equipment staff to sell fake “game-used” helmets as part of a long-time scam, the AP reported.
Manning’s team had denied the claims, according to the AP, saying that one plaintiff, Eric Inselberg, is a con artist and calling the lawsuit “inflammatory and baseless.”
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2014, and it stated that Inselberg and two others bought helmets from Manning. One of them was allegedly used during the 2008 Super Bowl. But they were fake, according to Inselberg.
The plaintiffs used photo experts to determine that the helmets were never used in a game, however, Manning’s team claimed that the tactic used by the photo experts known as “photo matching” is unreliable.
In April 2017, Inselberg’s attorneys filed court documents that showed emails exchanged between Manning and equipment manager Joseph Skiba. In one of the emails, Manning asked Skiba to get “two helmets that can pass as game used,” the AP reported.
Manning’s attorney denied any wrongdoing by his client in a court filing last month, according to the AP. The email was meant to ask Skiba for two helmets that would “satisfy the requirement for being game used,” the filing said.
Inselberg was allegedly involved in a decade-long memorabilia scheme where he acquired game-used Giants equipment without permission, according to the court filing.
Source: JOSIAH BATES MARK OSBORNE
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