New York Giants superstar quarterback Eli Manning proclaimed his innocence at a press conference Thursday amid accusations he was involved in a memorabilia scandal involving game-used items.
Steiner later told ESPN he was out of the country when the story broke and had not yet had a chance to speak to Manning.
"I will say I have never done what I have been accused of doing", Manning said at a Giants offseason availability. "I have no reason nor have I ever had a reason to do anything of that nature. However, because this is a pending litigation, I will not be able to answer questions or go into specific details on the matter", Manning said. Manning has a contract with memorabilia dealer Steiner Sports, and his marketing agent had requested two game-used helmets as part of the agreement. I'm not a runner - you've seen me with Ray Rice, you've seen me with a lot of other players, guys that have been with us. They all wanted to know moe about the charges that Eli and equipment manager Joe Skiba passed off items to dealers as "game used" when they actually weren't.
The suit was filed by three memorabilia collectors against the Giants, Manning, Skiba, Steiner Sports and the team's co-owner and chief executive, John Mara. The email had been included in court documents. "I think my track record of how I've handled myself since I've been here in NY, since 2004, speaks for itself".
Manning said he has been surprised how people have turned in the wake of the email, which he gave to the plaintiff in discovery. "I've tried to handle everything with class and be a stand up citizen, and that's what I have done and that's being attacked right now".
Whether this damages Manning's reputation remains to be seen, but these claims present an unwelcome distraction for the Giants, who have gone all-in as far as setting themselves up for a Super Bowl run in the twilight of Manning's career.
"I've been dealing with it for a long time", Manning said.
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