Panini has gotten themselves into a hot mess. Quite the hot mess indeed. Basically, for a few players in Flawless, the cards were labeled as game used, when in fact they were leftover event used jerseys from the rookie premiere. These players, Kaepernick, Jeffery, and others, are were part of an exhaustive review thread on the message boards, leading to this identification.
Considering all that goes on in the world of trading cards, we shouldnt be surprised – even with an apology and an offer of exchange that was issued yesterday. Here are the cards:
Here is the bottom line. I really dont think this was done with nefarious purposes in mind. Im guessing it was a mistake (albeit major), and it is definitely going to hurt them significantly in terms of trust with the public. Issuing the statement only happened because they got caught, and that is not a way to run a business. They should have gotten out ahead of it, no doubt about it.
That being said, the authenticity of “Game Worn” cards within such a high end product should never be in question. Attention to detail is a huge deal. Additionally, this isnt the first time that Panini should have been facing questions around their business practices. I honestly believe three players jersey relics are much less of a concern than the practice of obtaining autographs through the player’s agent and other related people. Many of the companies have resorted to live signings as much as possible, but with Panini, there is good reason to think that they are only doing live signings for the important players.
For years, Topps has put a top priority on being live with the player as they sign for as many of the autograph sessions as logistically possible. They are far from perfect in their track record, but they have avoided many of the problem players as a result. Panini, due to their different ways of obtaining signatures, has gotten caught with everyone under the sun. Dez Bryant, Ryan Mathews, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Cordarrelle Patterson, Whitney Mercilus and others.
The scariest thing about using this model is that there is no trustworthy party that can verify the authenticity. Currently, the only way Panini can question authenticity is through the player’s agent or contact, and there is no way they would ever throw their guy under the bus. The only way to completely verify the signature is to be there when it is signed. Panini has failed too many times to count.
When you add on this jersey situation, the trust is damaged further. Panini does these sorts of things to cut cost. All is done in the name of the bottom line, and that hurts collectors. GU Jerseys are expensive. Flying people out to signings is expensive. Panini wants to save that money to offset the enormous expenses of league licenses and player autographs.
This is not good all around. Here is their article that details the situation.
Here are some of the previous articles I have posted on the autographs: