Eli Manning won’t be using a football helmet in practice in this week, so that he can tend to a lingering legal issue regarding game-used helmets.
As noted by ESPN.com (and as we previously explained here, but that was a couple of weeks ago so it makes sense to post a reminder), jury selection commences on Monday in the civil fraud trial against Manning. The claim arises from the contention that Manning deliberately provided non-game-used helmets for sale as certified game-used helmets.
A settlement is possible but not likely, which means that Manning could soon be testifying in open court to defend himself against the charge. When he does, he’ll surely be confronted with an email message that the plaintiff in the case interprets as a smoking gun.
At stake for Manning is more than the money that would be paid via a jury verdict. The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy expressly prohibits fraud. And while the NFL possibly will draw a line between criminal and civil fraud, fraud is fraud and the NFL will face claims of double standards and hypocrisy if Manning is found guilty of civil fraud and faces no NFL scrutiny.