Friday, January 31, 2014
Big Blue Morning: Eli's troubles
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
Still mulling this Eli Manning memorabilia scandal lawsuit thing from Thursday, and I don't know. As I said Thursday, this could turn out to be something very bad for Manning and the Giants, or it could turn out to be absolutely nothing at all, so it's tough to rush to big, broad conclusions at this point. But I find it tough to imagine that, even if something like this were going on, Manning would find himself this deeply and knowingly connected to it.
Look, I'm a skeptic, by nature and by profession. So I don't want to be the one out there shouting, "No way! Not Eli!", because people of every shape and size have the ability to surprise and disappoint us. It's the way of the world. But if -- and I really want to stress IF -- Eli Manning were to be involved in something like this, it would controvert four decades' and two generations' worth of brand-building by Manning quarterbacks. It would be the most -- and maybe the first -- out-of-character thing any Manning ever did. This is a quarterback family that's going down in history as football royalty, partially by design, and it's difficult to imagine one of them risking this much work on a collective legacy over something as small-potatoes as a memorabilia scam involving equipment managers and drycleaners.
At some point, we'll know more. The thing will get thrown out, or the Mannings and the Giants will win it, or it will advance in more troublesome ways and we'll have to confront some disappointing realities from which the Mannings have historically been able to steer clear. But in the wake of Thursday's story, and given some time to think about it, the part at which Eli Manning could be involved seems tough to believe. For me, at least.