From time to time, the league office will initially have no comment on a given topic, until it does. In the case of the pending memorabilia fraud lawsuit involving the Giants and quarterback Eli Manning, the league office still has nothing to say.
“We will decline comment,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT on Friday regarding two specific questions arising from the situation. First, would a civil finding of memorabilia fraud trigger a review under the Personal Conduct Policy? Second, is there any investigation at this point?
While nothing has been proven to this point, those are fair questions, given the plain terms of the policy.
“Conduct by anyone in the league that is illegal, violent, dangerous, or irresponsible puts innocent victims at risk, damages the reputation of others in the game, and undercuts public respect and support for the NFL,” the policy states. “We must endeavor at all times to be people of high character; we must show respect for others inside and outside our workplace; and we must strive to conduct ourselves in ways that favorably reflect on ourselves, our teams, the communities we represent, and the NFL.”
The specific list of prohibited acts contained in the policy includes the following: “Crimes of dishonesty such as blackmail, extortion, fraud, money laundering, or racketeering.”
While there necessarily is no crime without a criminal prosecution (and as far as anyone knows there isn’t one in this case, yet), the NFL decided in the wake of the Ray Rice case that it can and will investigate and act upon potentially illegal misconduct regardless of whether the authorities do. If/when the Giants are found civilly liable for memorabilia fraud, or possibly if the Giants settle the case, the league may have no choice but to do something.