“I’ve done nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide,” Manning said Thursday.
The two-time Super Bowl MVP turned over what is rumored to be an incriminating e-mail last week in connection with a lawsuit. The lawsuit claims he and the Giants’ equipment manager knowingly provided gear that was not worn in games.
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On Apr. 27, 2010, Manning sent an e-mail to Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba requesting “two helmets that can pass as game used”.
The e-mail was in response to a note from Alan Zucker, Manning’s marketing agent. Zucker made the request to satisfy Manning’s contract obligations with sports memorabilia dealer Steiner Sports.
Manning said the e-mails “were taken out of context”.
The e-mail was included in a court filing in Bergen County (New Jersey) Superior Court. Collectors Eric Inselberg, Michael Jakar, and Sean Godwon filed a lawsuit three years ago.
The suit alleges Manning was not only aware of fake game memorabilia was passed off as genuine but he was also instrumental in its creation. The suit also maintains the Giants were complicit by not saving the incriminating e-mail.
Manning, Skiba, Steiner Sports, the Giants, and co-owner John Mara are named in the suit. The trial begins Sept. 25.
“I’ve tried to do everything with class and be a stand-up citizen,” Manning said. “That’s what I have done and that’s being attacked right now. I’m just more angry than anything…having to deal with this and knowing that I did nothing wrong and (am) still being attacked.”
Manning didn’t answer specific questions and wouldn’t elaborate on the lawsuit because it is still pending litigation. He is confident that his reputation will be restored.
“I will say that I’ve never done what I’ve been accused of doing. I have no reason, nor have I ever had any reason, to do anything of that nature,” he said. “I’ve done nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide. And I know that when this is all done everybody will see it the same way.”
Steiner Sports CEO Brandon Steiner said he hopes the items Manning has presented him (and he eventually sold) are genuine. He also admitted he is not sure.
“When Eli Manning walks into your office and he says, ‘These are my game-used items’, then I’d like to think that I can believe that,” Steiner said in a Monday Facebook Live interview.
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