Friday, January 31, 2014

At Least They Didn't Fake Aubrey Huff's Thong

"And this is the helmet I wore in Super Bowl 3"
Finally, something worth talking about at Super Bowl week.

No, not Peyton Manning's "ducks." Everyone who watches football knows that Peyton Manning throws flutter balls. They are incredibly accurate, high velocity flutter balls, but they are flutter balls, and no amount of chest-beating and "ZOMG DID YOU HEAR WHAT HE SAID ABOUT SAINT PEYTON" po-faced disingenuousness is going to change that. It's a non-issue, and thus, a non-starter.

Similarly, the whole "Medicinal pot" angle is pure meh. Yes, we get it - both teams come from states with legalized marijuana use. All the stoner jokes have been made already. 
The repeated, flailing attempts of New Jerseyites to point out that for all the natter about how the Super Bowl is in New York, the Super Bowl is not actually in New York? Nice try, (good)fellas, but the New York narrative is the one that's stuck. You can huff and puff and remind everyone that Sinatra was from Hoboken and the game's being played at exit 16W, but nobody's going to admit you're right.

And Richard Sherman? He's been famous for a whole week and a half. Time to move on, at least according to the Super Bowl press corps.

But what we've got is a real live scandal, with an added soup├žon of Manning.
A lawsuit brought forward by a Jersey memorabilia dealer named Eric Inselberg claims that various Giants staff members - with knowledge and permission of folks like Manning and team president and co-owner John Mara - faked and sold "game worn" memorabilia. More specifically, it claims that the Giants fed him to the wolves to distract attention from themselves, to the point where they had folks perjure themselves to throw shade on Inselberg. 

The charges against Inselberg were dropped after the prosecution in the case was informed of all the wacky perjury hijinks that had been perpetrated. Now, like a proper Jersey guy, Inselberg's out for blood. The lawsuit comes with some pretty damning evidence, like an equipment manager confirming from an official Giants email account that yes, a particular helmet for sale was in fact a "BS" one he'd made up as per Eli's request.

Now everybody knows that not every "signed" item is a "signed" item. I'm friends with someone who once had a job that included faking a celebrity's signature on a regular basis. Pete Rose sold his landmark bats so many times he must have been swinging with the magically replicating broom from Fantasia. But this, this is interesting. Partially because it brings the whole sordid practice of creating fake memorabilia out in the open (and if you don't think lawsuits are going to start flying fast and furious from the six guys who all think they have the helmet Eli wore in his first Super Bowl, you're nuts), partially because the manufacture appears to have been condoned by the organization to the point where they organized a coverup, and partially because it's a squeaky clean Manning who's thoroughly enmeshed in the gears on this one. 

The more you did into the text of the lawsuit, the more interesting this one gets. If Inselberg really is looking for payback, this will be long, drawn out and ugly, and it will no doubt spark frantic investigations into all the other "unique" memorabilia out there. (If he's just after go-away money, then it's a different story, but that's neither here nor there.) Turn over all the rocks and there's a chance that you find a few more creepy-crawlies, and that's about the last thing Roger Goodell wants. 

But in the meantime, it certainly makes for interesting reading.
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