NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Brandon Steiner, CEO of memorabilia dealer Steiner Sports, is defending Eli Manning, calling him “a guy I’ve trusted throughout (the) years, 100 percent.”
The Giants quarterback is accused of asking team equipment manager Joe Skiba to produce helmets that could pass as game worn so they could be sold to unwitting memorabilia collectors.
Three collectors are suing the Giants, Manning, Skiba, Steiner Sports and others alleging they were all in on the scheme.
Steiner said in a Facebook Live video Tuesday afternoon that Manning is “someone I would say I trust my children with.”
“When Eli Manning walks into your office and he says, ‘These are my game-used items,’ I’d like to think that I can believe that,” Steiner said.
Steiner, however, added that his company is still looking into the matter.
The New York Post reported last week that it obtained court papers that include a April 2010 email from Manning to Skiba asking for “2 helmets that can pass as game used.”
The email followed one from Alan Zucker, Manning’s marketing agent, who requested the QB to produce two game-used helmets and jerseys, as per his contract with Steiner, the Post reported.
In another email, Skiba allegedly admitted to one of the plaintiffs that Manning asked him to create “BS” versions of memorabilia because he did not want to part with the real items.
Karen Kessler, a spokeswoman for Giants lawyer McCarter English, released a statement claiming Manning’s email was being misrepresented.
“This email, taken out of context, was shared with the media by an unscrupulous memorabilia dealer and his counsel who for years has been seeking to leverage a big payday,” she said. “The email predates any litigation, and there was no legal obligation to store it on the Giants server.
“Eli Manning is well known for his integrity and this is just the latest misguided attempt to defame his character,” Kessler continued.