Eli Manning has some serious explaining to do. An illegal scheme may have taken place to defraud consumers out of authentic Memorabilia from games and events. The New York Giants have become wrapped up in litigation surrounding the controversy, and now their star quarterback is involved as well, thanks to a damaging email acquired by the New York Post on Thursday.

Troubling potential proof of wrongdoing

Manning has a contract with Steiner Sports, one of the most prominent dealers of memorabilia. An email dated back to April 27, 2010, appears to show the quarterback stating that two of his helmets "can pass" as being worn in a game.

It's unclear if the New York Giants quarterback meant that they weren't authentic by using that expression, or if he was just trying to spell out the truth to equipment manager Joe Skiba. The emails were filed by various collectors on Tuesday in court.

Documents from the Bergen County Superior Court suggest that Manning may have handed those helmets over as a means of fulfilling his end of the contract with Steiner Sports. Supposedly, the Giants star turned over those emails last week. One of the other interesting - if less essential - details is that the star reportedly saved the emails on an AOL account. For fans of the team, his email system may be surprisingly outdated - his involvement in a memorabilia scandal may be worse.

Working its way through the court system

The original lawsuit was filed back in 2014. Three memorabilia collectors brought a civil racketeering suit against defenders Eli Manning, Joe Skiba, Steiner Sports, and the Giants themselves, among others. The case, which is complex due to connections with another case back in 2011, is set to go to trial on September 25.

It will be interesting to see what kind of discipline the NFL would have in store for Manning and the Giants, depending on the outcome of the case. This doesn't seem like the type of issue the league can avoid weighing in on, as the value of their memorabilia is extremely important in the overall business and credibility of the sport.

The case is already drawing some comparisons to the Tom Brady "Deflategate" discipline, which was butchered by commissioner Roger Goodell. Penalties in this case probably wouldn't be as harsh, since the credibility of the results on the field won't be at stake, but it would still be worth paying attention to in a few months if the trial finds Manning liable.