Eli Manning is headed to court over alleged memorabilia fraud, and one of his former New York Giants teammates thinks he has some explaining to do. Victor Cruz thinks Manning owes it to his fans to at least explain what his email request for two helmets that could “pass for game-worn” was all about.
Cruz, while co-hosting Ebro In The Morning on Hot 97 on Thursday, made it clear he isn’t saying Manning did try to pull a fast one so he could fraudulently present helmets to Steiner Sports.
“Let’s be clear: His character is top-notch,” Cruz said.
However, despite the fact that Manning has never done anything to raise an eyebrow until this scandal broke, Cruz believes this won’t just blow over because Manning is who he is.
“It’s going to be some conversations to be had,” Cruz said. “Something is going to have to be said. Eli is going to have to admit or own up to whatever this is and we’ll see what happens. Because there’s a question of what was that email about. You’re asking your equipment manager to send you something that resembles game-worn apparel. What is it about? Is it for your auntie back in Mississippi that just wants a jersey? Or is it for someone that is paying you for whatever?”
Cruz also said players ask for stuff like this all the time — that it’s “extremely common” to request gear that wasn’t used in a game, as players want to give items to friends and family.
“But the fact that he wrote the actual words ‘pass for game-worn,’ that’s the part that’s like …,” Cruz said.
Manning passionately defended himself recently in a press conference in which he showed a rare flash of emotion off the field. He’s also been defended by the Giants, his teammates and former teammate, Brandon Jacobs.
A recent release of emails by his lawyers also suggests no foul play. At the least it appears his accusers will have a very tough time proving he intentionally did anything close to resembling fraud (more on that here).
While it’s understandable that Cruz would want his former teammate to just come clean and tell his side of the story about why he requested those two helmets, because this is headed to court it’s just as understandable why Manning won’t speak on this topic.