New York Giants QB Eli Manning is disputing allegations of fraud being brought forward against him in a lawsuit by several New Jersey memorabilia dealers.
“I would like to address what has been going on in the news the past couple of days,” Manning told a cadre of reporters at the Giants’ training facility on Thursday. “However, because this is a pending litigation, I will not be able to answer questions or go into specific details on the matter.”
“I will say that I have never done what I have been accused of doing,” he continued. “I have no reason, nor have I ever had any reason to do anything of that nature. I have 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. Again, I can’t answer any questions, but if you have anything about the upcoming season I will answer those.”
But no one did have many questions about the upcoming season. 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.
“Definitely,” Manning responded when he was asked if he was angry that he was being portrayed this way. “It is one thing to write about my football or my play— when you are attacking my integrity, it definitely makes me angry.”
Manning said that he was “handling” it and has been for three years, when the allegations first surfaced. He acknowledges that he is often the center of criticism, it comes with the landscape, but this time, he’s taking things personally.
“One hundred percent,” he said. “I think my track record of how I’ve handled myself since I’ve been here in New York, since 2004, speaks for itself. I’ve tried to do everything with class and be a standup citizen, and that is what I have done and that is being attacked right now.”
Emails between Manning and Skiba that have been construed as damning to both were taken out of context the two-time Super Bowl MVP said and he’s hurt that the public has immediately turned against him without knowing all the facts.
“I have done everything the right way and have been a standup citizen and obviously you get— someone starts something up and everybody turns against you very quickly, it hurts a little bit.”
He said he had not heard from the NFL on the lawsuit as of yet and who knows if he ever will. The league usually lets the legal system play out first before exacting any suspension or fine. In this case, the proceedings are far from over.
Manning was asked if he had sought the counsel of his older brother, Peyton, and as usual, he has.
“I have talked to Peyton about things going on,” he said. “But yeah, I obviously witnessed him and how that, how he went through that, and it hurt him and it was tough for him at the time and so I understand, but we have talked and it has been good to have someone who has been through a similar situation and being in the same position that we have done and (are) doing things the right way and then being attacked.”
Manning has been backed up by the Giants organization as well as the reputable memorabilia dealer, Brandon Steiner, and revealed once again he does not deal in memorabilia, he just signs his name.
“Well, I sign autographs like a lot of people do,” he said. “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.”