View Full Version : Story- Fake Steelers Items On Ebay

01-20-2006, 03:37 PM
http://www.timesonline.com/local/z/zwire2305/custlogobeaver.gif (http://www.timesonline.com/site/news.cfm?brd=2305) 01/20/2006
Ward's shoes go for a mere $490 on eBay
Problem is - they're not his By: Chris Harlan - Times Sports Staff
http://images.zwire.com/local/Z/Zwire2305/zwire/images/2006/01/2006/01/story/20060120_064451_2_story.jpghttp://images.zwire.com/images/spacer.gifPittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward says he never had a pair of cleats like the ones sold on eBay. "I never wore those cleats." he said. Times file photo http://images.zwire.com/images/spacer.gif
Want to walk in Hines Ward's shoes?

It'll cost you.

If you could round up several hundred dollars (and outbid nearly 30 others), a pair of game-used football cleats could be on your feet for Sunday's AFC Championship Game. Perfect for when a Steelers jersey just won't satisfy, these shoes come complete with game-used sweat and game-used dirt.

Or how about holding the remote with the same glove that protected Ben Roethlisberger's injured throwing hand during his playoff victory over Cincinnati? It's for sale, too.

Along with another 15,000 Steelers-related items listed with the online auction site eBay.com, including Ward's shoes, which recently sold for $490 to a high bidder from Clearwater, Fla.

That was the last of 28 bids.

"These white and black game-used Nike cleats were worn by Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro wide receiver Hines Ward," the Web site read. "Ward wore these cleats during the 2005 season. Ward used a black Sharpie to sign a perfect signature on each cleat."

These shoes were there when Ward went to the Pro Bowl. They were there when he became the league's best blocking receiver. They walked into the end zone 12 times this season. The winning bidder must be thrilled.

But there's one problem.

"I never wore those cleats," Ward said, looking over printed copies of the items for sale while seated at his locker. "Those aren't mine. I've never worn cleats like those."

Not his cleats? Not his dirt? Not his touchdown?

"No," Ward said. "And that doesn't look like my autograph, either."

Maybe that signature isn't so perfect after all.

"People like that ruin it for everyone," said Ward, one of several Steelers players who admitted to having at least once searched eBay for their own merchandise.

There was also a pair of game-used gloves that sold for $301, and Ward said those weren't his either. No need for further review, Ward says someone will be very disappointed.

Thursday evening, searches for "Steelers" turned up 15,244 results, while "Broncos" registered only 9,412 items. And "Panthers" and "Seahawks" both registered in the 5,000s.

But sort through the throwback jerseys, bobbleheads and the hundreds of tickets for Sunday's game in Denver, and there you'll find memorabilia that only a Steelers fanatic could love.

How about a can of Iron City beer from 1975 commemorating the Pittsburgh Steelers' Super Bowl victory? According to the seller, this isn't just an ordinary beer. "This can holds the key to the next Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl Championship," writes the seller with the username fearisnofactor. (Search eBay for "Magical Pittsburgh Beer.")

Pulled out of storage to help this year's Steelers, the seller urges fans: "Make sure it gets into the right hands, for many wild Broncos, Seahawks and Panthers will try to STEEL its power away."

Oh, yeah, bidding starts at $5,000 for this 31-year-old can, which looks a lot like the dozens that are selling for less than $5.

Or how about a handmade Troy Polamalu ornament? (Search eBay's completed auction items for "Handcrafted Steelers 43"). Consisting of a glass Christmas tree ball adorned with a mane of flowing black hair and a hand-painted No. 43, the ornament holds an uncanny likeness to the Steelers All-Pro safety. Price: $13.

And, of course, there's still Big Ben's glove. Twenty-one bids had been placed for the autographed glove Thursday, with the cost now approaching $120.

Do I hear $125?

Chris Harlan can be reached online at charlan@timesonline.com.

01-20-2006, 03:44 PM
Unless I'm mistaken, the shoes and gloves mentioned in the article were sold by a pretty well-known company who claims to get their items directly from the players.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Hines-Ward-Signed-Game-Used-Steelers-Cleats-ESM_W0QQitemZ8750220847QQcategoryZ50119QQssPageNam eZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/Hines-Ward-Signed-Game-Used-Steelers-Gloves-ESM_W0QQitemZ8750214111QQcategoryZ50119QQssPageNam eZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


01-20-2006, 03:46 PM
Hines Ward Cleats which Hines Wars said he never wore link can be found here. (He also said it doesn't look like his autograph)

http://cgi.ebay.com/Hines-Ward-Signed-Game-Used-Steelers-Cleats-ESM_W0QQitemZ8750220847QQcategoryZ50119QQrdZ1QQcmd ZViewItem


01-20-2006, 04:34 PM
Hines Ward's cleats (note the 2 different styles) in 2005:


For the ProBowl, he wore red and white cleats.

By the way, why is it that so many dealers who carp about how they "get their items directly from the athletes/teams" never have a shred of athlete or team documentation? Do you think that perhaps if someone, for example, bought 20 jerseys from the Colts, the Colts would most likely issue some sort of documentation? Don't most teams these days offer some sort of documentation if you buy directly from them? If you're a dealer getting the vast majority of your stock directly from teams/athletes why wouldn't you offer some sort of documentation (even photocopies) of your sources? Mind boggling. They went to all that effort and cost to establish a relationship with a pro team/player and didn't even bother to get any docs.


01-20-2006, 05:04 PM
Good points about team-issued LOAs. Think back to when teams hardly ever sold stuff directly to the public. The buyer more or less had to rely on LOAs from the dealer who got it from the team. With that in mind, team LOAs were a definite bonus. Now, with many of them selling direct to the public, it's far from unreasonable to expect an item to come with a team-issued document. Why anyone would put more faith into an independent dealer than a team is baffling.

Eric, any chance we could convince ESM to come here and respond to Ward's claims?


01-20-2006, 05:09 PM
Coincidentally enough, as I write this post, ESM is currently logged in under the handle 'Elite Sports'. :D


Bernie J. Gernay
01-20-2006, 07:09 PM
I think I'd like to clear up a huge misconception about obtaining items from the "team".

Rudy, I understand you wouldn't know this and I wouldn't really expect you to because you're a "collector." So, instead of you going on and on for the next umteen years wondering why companies who get game used equipment from the "team" don't get any documentation from the "team" with the items. I'll explain why so simple you will never have to ask this question again. It is obvious you are very hung up on the fact that companies who get game used items from the team (let's just be straight and say the equipment manager) do not get any provenance from them or will not divulge the name of the person it was obtained from. Well, there is a great reason for that. Let's be blunt here: AN EQUIPMENT MANAGER ISN'T GOING TO OFFER DOCUMENTATION ON SOMETHING THAT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE SOLD "OUT THE BACK DOOR." That's sort of like asking your buddy who works at Circuit City for a receipt for a $3,000 camcorder that you only paid $500 for. It just wouldn't make any sense now would it? Of course not. So you can be darn certain you aren't going to ask your buddy the equipment manager for a LOA on game used equipment that you were not supposed to be selling in the first place. I hope that clears up this for you and you never have to ask that question again.

This does not pertain to specific players who you may have an exclusive agreement with. In that case you can offer a LOA from the player. In most cases the extra jerseys a player wears to fulfill the agreement must be ordered from the equipment manager before the season and usually will cost an extra $110 per jersey in most cases. This is all legitimate. There is a BIG difference between buying jerseys from a player who you have a game used exclusive agreement with and an equipment manager pulling a jersey for you that you're paying him cash for.

There have been plenty of equipment managers who have lost their jobs over the years because there are people who suffer from diarrhea of the mouth. You are right, you do go through a lot to establish a relationship with a team. You do this to gain trust so you can buy game used equipment over the years, not to blab to people about it nevermind even asking your guy for a letter or documention. They would think you're nuts if you asked for that. If you want to gain other contacts you keep your mouth shut, especially if you're getting unwashed jerseys that are photomatched. If you don't sell that stuff privately someone will lose their job.

This post has nothing to do with the Hines Ward shoes or otherwise. I am not defending nor criticizing the "main" topic here. I just think it is necessary for not only you but others to realize the potential damage that can be done to someones career (as I have seen many times) by divulging someones name who you obtained the item(s) from. It's all about trust.

01-20-2006, 07:27 PM

Yes I realize things get sold 'out the back door' and that in such circumstances, discretion is required. It was one of the first things they taught us in 'collector's school'. (I'm hoping that one day when I make enough authentication errors I can finally call myself an 'expert', start my own company and start issuing worthless LOA's along with the rest of them.)

However, many things don't get sold through the back door. Many in fact are legitimate team purchases, especially in this day and age when teams are finally fully aware of the collectibles market out there. See: Steiner. See: MeiGray. See: a ton of teams that sell directly to the public and almost every single one of them issues docs.

But yes, I do realize the 'back door' exists. After all Bernie, I'm assuming that's how you got that '02 Peyton Manning. If I gave someone that jersey, I'd also tell them not to mention my name. :D


Bernie J. Gernay
01-20-2006, 07:40 PM
That's right, I almost forgot. Note to self (and others): When buying an item from an equipment manager it must be photomatched by "Rudy" before it is sold. If it cannot be photomatched by "Rudy" it is likely not authentic and may not be sold. Got it.

01-20-2006, 09:18 PM

I have been reading posts on this website for about three months. and I have posted responses on occasion. I have learned quite a bit from the "non-experts" and very little to zero from the "experts". I continually shake my head in disbelief when "experts" like Bernie G. come on this website and refuse to answer questions about a particular jersey they have sold or owned. Instead of stating facts, he dances around, shucks, and jives around the questions. Many can see through the "smoke and mirrors". When that does not work he attacks, pokes fun, or throws sarcasm at any poster who questions the authenticity of his jerseys. Clearly professionals, and I mean true professionals in this business do not act like Bernie G. As a former Chief of Police, an Executive for the Fortune #1 company in the world and now the owner of one of the largest consulting firms in NY, I would never, ever treat potential clients, prospects, business acquaintences, friends and even web posters the way Bernie G. does.

Bernie is no professional in my book and an "expert" in game worn jerseys??? Folks, you have to be kidding me.

Mark Weimerskirch

Bernie J. Gernay
01-21-2006, 01:12 AM

I cannot apologize for the truth, nor will I. I stick to the truth, always. Now, the truth may not always be what people want to hear or may not be popular but I am not really here to make friends either. In fact people often get offended by the truth. Heck, Jesus Christ was crucified for speaking the truth. So if you think I'm going to walk on eggshells in order to appease people I just can't do it.

There are about 2 or 3 people on this board who have an agenda to create chaos for anyone they can, this is very clear. You know who they are, the moderators know who they are. How do you know whether certain authenticators are disliked because they have turned down items submitted for authentication by someone that turned out to be blatantly fake? Maybe I'll pass the next doctored up football jersey that came from NFL Auctions submitted for authentication so I can make a new friend, or maybe just so that person doesn't get mad at me and attempt to target me on a message board. You wouldn't know that though. I'd say I'm pretty darn nice to those people considering the facts.

Again, this is not a popularity contest. I am paid to authenticate football jerseys and equipment. I'm not impressed by someone blabbing about being a former Chief of Police or fortune magazine president or a consulting firm. I know more big attorneys, FBI, Prosecutors, State Police, Chiefs of Police in NY and NJ that would even impress you. Don't tell me you never used sarcasm in your career as a police officer among many other things I'm sure dealing with some of the winners out there in society. Let's call a spade a spade here. None of us are perfect but you have to get the big picture here first before you make comments.

01-21-2006, 01:14 AM
That's right, I almost forgot. Note to self (and others): When buying an item from an equipment manager it must be photomatched by "Rudy" before it is sold. If it cannot be photomatched by "Rudy" it is likely not authentic and may not be sold. Got it.

Let me please remind you of a forum rule which states "No Personal Attacks. Do not harass, belittle, threaten or “flame” another member. Do not call other members names, even in jest. You may dispute opinions and facts, but do so with facts and not by taking it to a personal level. This forum is intended to operate in a positive environment. Please help us achieve that goal."

I believe the question about team LOAs was a legitimate one and one that can be handled without taking things to a personal level. Please keep this in mind if you plan to respond to posts in the future. As I mentioned in a previous post, we are going to do everything necessary to make this forum a place where members are proud to say they belong and feel comfortable participating.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

Christopher Cavalier
CEO - Game Used Universe

01-21-2006, 07:04 AM
I still like Howard's idea and buy the item not the paper. I've learned a lot over the past year from this forum. From bat labeling to jersey tagging to photo matching pinstripes it's been a great resource. We should be offering more opinions of the items and less of the sellers.

Personally, I'd still like to know the story behind the Ward shoes.

Elite Sports
01-23-2006, 03:26 PM
Forum members,
We get all of our items directly from a player and most of our items come with letters signed directly from the athlete. As many of you know that we deal directly with a player from the Buffalo Bills, who is friends with many other players, trainers, and coaches around the league. When I saw this article I called him and he reassured me that the items came directly from the Steelers locker room. We are in the process of contacting the buyer and letting them know what is going on.


01-23-2006, 03:30 PM
Yes I realize things get sold 'out the back door' and that in such circumstances, discretion is required. It was one of the first things they taught us in 'collector's school'. (I'm hoping that one day when I make enough authentication errors I can finally call myself an 'expert', start my own company and start issuing worthless LOA's along with the rest of them.)

Rudy, funny, I was going to call you to ask when you wanted to start an authentication service.

01-23-2006, 04:19 PM

I've looked over all of the ESM items on Ebay (as well as many on your site) and I couldn't find any mention of any items coming with a player-signed letter. Every single item stated it came with an ESM COA. The COA's themselves bore no mention or signature of any athlete.
Can you point me to the items that come with a letter directly from an athlete?

re: your Buffalo Bills source.
Hines Ward stated he's never worn cleats like that. Your source is saying he did. If you choose to believe your source, you're also saying Hines Ward doesn't know what kind of cleats he wears or what his autograph looks like. While I realize that athletes do sometimes make errors about their own uniforms and equipment, I think in this case, if it were me, I would personally take Hines Ward's comments about his own cleats over the the reassurance of a player on another team. Hines Ward has no financial interest in the cleats. Your source does.
Cleats coming straight from the Steelers locker room aren't the same thing as cleats coming straight from Hines Ward. I'm sure the Steeler's locker room is filled with hundreds of pairs of all sorts of cleats.