Chris Christie rips 'liar' Eli Manning: 'He got caught' in fake memorabilia scheme

Guardian sport
Chris Christie blasted Eli Manning as a “liar” for his alleged involvement in a fake sports memorabilia scheme. Photograph: Icon Sportswire/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New Jersey governor Chris Christie blasted Eli Manning as a “liar” following the release of an email suggesting the New York Giants quarterback was knowingly involved in a fake sports memorabilia scheme.

“He got caught,” Christie said on Friday during a guest-hosting appearance on the Boomer & Carton morning show on WFAN 660-AM in New York.

Christie, who is reportedly exploring a career in sports talk radio after his term ends, spared no criticism of “the liar Eli Manning” while discussing the unfolding lawsuit.

Manning turned over the potentially incriminating email during the discovery process of a lawsuit that alleges the quarterback, the Giants and a team equipment manager knowingly provided false game-worn memorabilia to collectors. It was subsequently included in a court filing this week in Bergen County (New Jersey) Superior Court by the plaintiffs: collectors Eric Inselberg, Michael Jakab and Sean Godown.

In the 2010 email, Manning asks Giants head equipment manager Joe Skiba asking for “two helmets that can pass as game used”. That request was been prompted by a separate email to Manning from his longtime marketing agent, Alan Zuker, which asked him to come up with equipment to satisfy an obligation to memorabilia purveyors Steiner Sports.

The lawsuit also alleges the Giants deleted emails related to the transaction from their accounts.

“The Giants participated in this as well, so John Mara’s going to have to open the checkbook,” Christie said of Manning’s team, which plays their home games in New Jersey. “Now there’s all kinds of ramifications for the Giants as a brand. Are they a lying cheating franchise?”

He added: “I think it’s an open question. I’m not saying that John Mara knew.”

Representatives for Manning have dismissed the lawsuit as a “misguided attempt” to defame the quarterback. Karen Kessler, a spokeswoman for the team’s law firm, said in a statement: “The 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.”

Christie characterized Kessler’s statement as “a politician’s non-answer.”

“Give a good statement or shut up,” Christie said.

Christie, who last month was asked by president Donald Trump to chair a new drug commission addressing the nation’s addiction crisis, couldn’t resist a comment bringing in Eli’s older brother, who is generally considered the superior quarterback of the two.

“Could you ever imagine Peyton being involved in this?” Christie said. “No, definitely not. Peyton’s smarter.”

The trial is scheduled to begin on 25 September.

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