NFL has no comment on Eli Manning’s pending fraud trial

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With Giants quarterback Eli Manning facing a fraud trial in New Jersey Superior Court, he apparently doesn’t have a problem in the Court of Roger Goodell. Yet.

The NFL had declined comment regarding whether the latest development in the memorabilia fraud case against Manning and the Giants pulls the situation within the Personal Conduct Policy or has sparked an investigation under the policy. A Thursday ruling from the presiding judge determined that Manning will be the only defendant who faces a claim of common-law fraud before a jury.

The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy specifically prohibits “[c]rimes of dishonesty such as blackmail, extortion, fraud, money laundering, or racketeering.” (Emphasis added.) More generally, the policy forbids “[c]onduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL personnel.”

Eli Manning is one of the most liked and respected players in the NFL. I like and respect him. But if a jury finds that he perpetrated a fraud regarding game-used helmets that weren’t actually game-used, those two portions of the Personal Conduct Policy can’t be ignored.

The league may, if Eli eventually is found to have committed fraud under New Jersey civil laws, contend that there’s a difference between civil and criminal fraud. However, fraud is fraud.

Under New Jersey civil law, fraud happens when someone lies about an important factual matter (“this helmet I’m selling was game used”), when the person knows or believes he’s lying (“this helmet I’m selling was never actually game used”), when the person wants someone else to rely on the lie (“I hope they accept this helmet as game used even though it isn’t”), when someone else relies on it (“I’ve pulled it off“),  and when the person who relies on it experiences a loss of money or other tangible harm. Under federal law, fraud becomes a crime when the means to perpetrate it are the mail (mail fraud) or electronic communications (wire fraud).

In this case, the question of whether a New Jersey civil fraud becomes federal criminal wire fraud may hinge on that one specific email sent by Eli Manning requesting “2 helmets that can pass as game used.” Technical defenses could include an argument that the email message never actually crossed state lines. Even if the sender and recipient are located in the same state, it’s hard to imagine every email ever sent not crossing state lines as it moves from sender to server to another server to recipient.

And even if Eli Manning is never charged with wire fraud, Ezekiel Elliott was never charged with a crime, either. Which underscores one of the major problems that the NFL created for itself when establishing an in-house operation that investigates, prosecutes, and convicts under a vague, shadowy, confusing process that seems to be guided more by P.R. than by notions of fairness and justice.

While the NFL’s “no comment” doesn’t mean the NFL isn’t investigating the situation, the NFL typically isn’t bashful about acknowledging when a Personal Conduct Policy investigation has been launched. In this case, “no comment” could instead mean something like, “Oh crap we’ve created a monster that could force us into taking action against someone we don’t really want to take action against.”

35 responses to “NFL has no comment on Eli Manning’s pending fraud trial

  1. I can’t wait for you paper red blooded Americans to explain this thief’s behavior, but its natural…. 😉

  2. The NFL will just sweep it away, just like big brother Peyton’s HGH delivery. It’s the Giants and the Mara’s you see.

    Nothing to see here folks, move along…

  3. Well at least he exercise his civil liberties, now that would get you ostracized. Ripping off paying costumers isn’t a big deal.

  4. >.and convicts under a vague, shadowy, confusing process that seems to be guided more by P.R. than by notions of fairness and justice.

    Sounds about right.
    Though I think what EE is reported to have done is a bit for serious than what EM is reported to have done.

    The NFL doesnt need to be fair, they just need to make money.

  5. If intent to defraud a football fan doesn’t fall under “[c]onduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL personnel.” I don’t know what does. The NFL has proven that it does not have what it takes to fairly (or even competently) police and discipline its players in terms of the personal conduct policy (Tom Brady, Ezekial Elliot, Ray Rice, etc etc). What should happen, but probably never will, is that all investigations and disciplinary actions should be handled by an outside party.

  6. Tom Brady was “ liked and respected “ until the NFL decided to ignore the basic laws of physics, and despite admitting in Federal Court they had no evidence,go after him.
    Talk about having a certain set of rules for NY teams, disgusting.

  7. Where’s all the little league weasels who set up a scam to frame brady for absolutely nothing and then tried to hide the evidence that proved their stupidity?

    Mannings assault women, mail order dope, and defraud their home fans. No problem.

  8. The NFL needs to take action when dealing with fraud and this guy has been pretending to be a good QB for Decades.

  9. I can’t believe the NFL has no comment on this but went hard after everyone else like Brady, Saints, Elliott. After the soft punishment to the Giants kicker, I am starting to think the Giants are untouchable. I would love to see why. Maybe Mara has something on Goodell?

    The only way I can see Manning get out of this is the item was not sold, but given to someone. If no money was exchanged, then is there still a loss and therefore fraud? Either way you have a genuine team used NY Giants football helmet that still has considerable value (a few hundred dollars). Making it a game used one will not raise that value much, if you look at market prices. It will only go up significantly if it was autographed. In any event, not a good story for the Shield!

  10. well since Eli is one of the most liked….let him QB in NY til he’s 45. It’s not his fault he has to throw every other pass into the ground to avoid being touched, it’s the rest of the offense. Who actually think lil Eli will be found guilty of anything? Pouty McBoatFace has been coddled all his life, Peyton will pull his usual strings like Archie before him and make sure lil Eli is taken care of.

  11. He he was a black running back from Dallas he would have already got a one year suspension.

  12. In this case, the question of whether a New Jersey civil fraud becomes federal criminal wire fraud may hinge on that one specific email sent by Eli Manning requesting “2 helmets that can pass as game used.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    His defense will be he used poor word choice. 2 actual game used helmets could “pass as game used” but the word choice implies that the 2 helmets merely appear game used. He will say his intent was to get actual game-used gear and if the gear he received from the equipment manager was not genuine, then Eli was also deceived…as the bus comes to a screeching halt above the body of the equipment manager. It is weak and likely a lie but it would probably serve as “reasonable doubt” for criminal trial purposes. 50/50 on the “preponderance of evidence” standard that may be used.

  13. Just because the NFL’s handling of the Brady and Elliott cases was a travesty doesn’t mean they should do the same thing with Eli. Wait for the outcome of the court case and then act. It will always tick me off the way the League treated other players’ cases, but that doesn’t mean I want the same garbage treatment for Manning.

  14. You will know Thursday which way Roger will go; if the Giants draft a qb early you can assume that Eli is going to get suspended at some point, if they dont address qb at all in the draft Eli skates.

  15. What a country it’s turning out to be. Thanks for making America great again. Drill baby drill, write the check, lock her up, the party of three words.

  16. His last name is Manning so nothing will happen to him.
    ================================

    That and he plays for a NY team. It’s like wearing 2 bulletproof vests.

    It’s pretty clear the league wants this story to go away. Otherwise, they would have said that they’re monitoring the situation or something to that effect.

  17. So you can be a dumba w diamonds but if it’s a helmet then it’s not your fault, then it’s the seller. Oh this country lol

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