It may be the offseason, but the New York Giants are still dealing with a bit of drama.
Shockingly, neither a boat nor Odell Beckham Jr. is involved.
Eli Manning has been accused of being part of a football memorabilia scam after the New York Post recently published an excerpt from an email that allegedly shows Manning instructing an equipment manager to grab gear that could be falsely passed off as game-used relics.
Also published was another email excerpt allegedly showing Manning communicating with a marketing agent about the fake memorabilia. Three memorabilia collectors are pursuing a civil lawsuit against the quarterback and filed the emails as evidence in New Jersey’s Bergen County Superior Court, according to Austin Knoblauch of NFL.com.
Manning, who has done his best to stay out of the public eye in the Big Apple despite all of his success, issued an emotional response to reporters on Thursday, defending himself against the allegations.
"I've never done what I've been accused of doing," he said. "I have no reason nor have I ever had a reason to do anything of that nature. I've done nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide. I know when this is all done everybody will see this the same way.”
It’s worth noting that Manning has a contract with Steiner Sports, one of the biggest sports memorabilia sellers in the world, but he said that he would have no financial incentive to pass something along that wasn’t authentic.
"I sign autographs like a lot of people do," Manning explained. "I owed Steiner jerseys -- I did not receive any benefits from that and that was just part of my agreement, but I never personally sold or made any money off a jersey or helmet."
As for the emails? They were “taken out of context and there's some other filings that have gone on recently that will clear up a lot of those things,” he commented.
He also revealed that the allegations were first made three years ago, and that they’ve been a major headache for him since.
"I've been dealing with it for a long time," Manning said. "Just more angry than anything about having to deal with it and knowing that I've done nothing wrong and still being attacked. It'll all work out. I think when it all does I'll be clear of this and everybody will see I've done nothing wrong.”
The NFL has not responded to the allegations at this time.
Last season, Manning started all 16 games for the Giants, throwing for 4,027 yards with 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions for a rating of 86.0. Heading into the 2017 campaign, he will likely want this issue to be cleared up so that his focus can remain on the field with no outside distractions.
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