New York Giants Fire Three Long Time Equipment Staffers (Controversial)

Following the settlement of the Eli Manning memorabilia case, the New York Giants have decided to let go of three long time members of the equipment staff. Clearly this is the step that the Giants felt would distance themselves from the implication that “game worn” relics are untrustworthy.

As first reported in an article, the employees who were let go are Edward and Joseph Skiba. Ed Wagner Jr. Joseph Skiba was the team’s equipment manager and his brother Edward Skiba was the assistant equipment manager. Wagner was the equipment/locker room manager who had worked for the Giants his entire career. Wagner’s father was also an equipment manager for the Giants in the past.

The controversy stems from an email Eli Manning sent to Joseph Skiba asking him to procure “2 helmets that can pass as game used.” Skiba later testified that the helmets he gave Manning were, in fact, not worn in a game. Steiner Sports, who have a contract with Eli Manning to sell game-worn items, later sold these helmets to collectors.

Skiba was found not liable in the suit settled on May 14th. Giants owner John Mara said in a deposition that he considered Skiba’s actions to be stealing from the team.

The Giants have declined to comment on the firing of these equipment staffers.

Media commentators have agreed with the implications of this case:

Game worn memorabilia can be hard to authenticate and easy to replicate. In almost every professional sport, a player could change jerseys or uniforms several times throughout a game.

For example, a baseball player could change jerseys several times throughout a game where they will hit a career milestone. A football player could purposely change helmets and jerseys at halftime of the Super Bowl.

The problem is that players might even be motivated to wear multiple items in a game. Conversely, this diminishes the value of these items for the collectors. It is doubtful this would decrease the cost up front for the buyer.

Game worn and game used items are not going to disappear from the sports memorabilia landscape. However, there will undoubtedly be skepticism of authenticity moving forward.

The controversy:

Eli Manning might be guilty in this particular scandal, but firing and blaming it on the equipment managers might be the controversial decision that saved Eli’s credibility. Was he really not guilty? Or did the Giants just shift the blame to a different group to deter the attention.