SBD/March 7, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Leaf Trading Card Company Insists Johnny Football Autographs Are Above Board

Manziel has informed A&M that he has not authorized the cards' production or sale
Texas-based Leaf Trading Cards “caused a stir on Wednesday when it announced that a high-profile redemption card already inserted in packs of two of its football sets could be redeemed” for an autographed card of Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. Leaf maintains that it is “doing nothing illegal and won't compromise Manziel's eligibility.” Leaf President Brian Gray said that his company “acquired the signatures from third parties with the intention of putting them into product, but neither Manziel at the time he signed them nor the sellers of the signatures knew of Leaf's intention.” Gray did not comment on how many autographed Manziel cards would be distributed, but said that Leaf "commissioned unique artwork for each card, which in the company's opinion satisfies the requirements of the First Amendment.” Texas A&M Compliance Dir David Batson said the school is aware of Leaf's Manziel cards and "will investigate accordingly." Batson: "Johnny has informed the Athletic Compliance Office that he has not authorized these cards’ production or sale; he has not knowingly provided his autograph for use in these cards; and he will not receive any compensation from the sale of these cards” (ESPN.com, 3/6).
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