Bruce Feldman has a fascinating piece up about why memorabilia dealers may have it in for Johnny Football. It seems they’re not real happy about the Manziels trying to cut themselves in for some of the sweet action.
“When his family filed to patent his name, ‘Johnny Football,’ all of us dealers, and I’m talking like 500 of us, had items on eBay related to Johnny Manziel,” Rudolph told CBSSports.com Wednesday. “They weren’t necessarily signed by him. I had Heisman programs from where he won the Heisman. So on that listing it would say, ‘Johnny Manziel, Johnny Football, Texas A&M Heisman Program.’ eBay swiped across the country and took all of those items down. All of ’em. And, in addition to that, they banned everyone who had done it for two weeks. No prior warning or nothing.
“I had 400 items up. I had six or eight related to Manziel and they pulled all of ’em. I called [eBay]. I said, ‘I’ve never had any trouble on eBay whatsoever.’ They said, ‘This is a legal thing and you violated a legal code so you’re suspended for two weeks.’ For me, I’m small time. That was an irritating thing because for two weeks, I couldn’t sell anything. I am quite sure for people whose livelihood are this business, that was crippling.
“If there’s anybody who has an ax to grind, pick any of those people.”
Meanwhile, there are schools like Ohio State and South Carolina scrambling to declare that their star players whose autographs are being sold in bulk on eBay are as pure as the driven snow. Of course, back in the real world…
Rudolph says his company has paid many pro athletes for the signing of items, but says when it comes to college athletes, “it gets a little sketchy. … we’ve had arrangements to sign memorabilia for us as soon as their bowl game ends. We have many bowl games down here in Florida. It may be two hours after the game ends, we’re gonna meet at this hotel room. We’ll buy their used game jerseys, their cleats. They’ll sign stuff for us. That’s a gray area because the moment they’re signing and getting their money, their eligibility is done, but when the arrangement is made before their eligibility. … that’s what I can say. I have never had a paid signing with an eligible player, but I know that is going on all the time. All the time.”
It’s probably just a bunch third-sting offensive tackles looking for a little extra jack before stardom doing that.
The sleaze is palpable.