This past Wednesday, the accusation that an autopen machine was used to put Dak Prescott autographs on trading cards was made public. To no one's surprise, Prescott has since denied any knowledge of or involvement in the activity.
Panini America, a publishing company that works with Prescott on these cards, released a statement on Friday which seemed to absolve Dak and his representatives of blame.
“Prescott and his representatives have worked closely with Panini during this process since becoming aware of the discrepancies and have no knowledge of how those cards were returned to Panini.”
The statement also details that Prescott fully cooperated in an investigation with Panini. The company announced a new long-term agreement with Dak for future business, which shows they must be satisfied with his explanation.
The potential fraud was uncovered by an authenticator from Beckett Grading Services, who said the five Prescott cards that he examined had a “machine-like feel.” This was assumed to be from an autopen device, which mechanically duplicates user signatures. This machine is most commonly associated with politicians, but other celebrities and business people could easily make use of them.
While Panini America appears happy with Dak's response, claiming “no knowledge” is the typical strategy in these situations. Tom Brady initially claimed to have no awareness of the activities that led to Deflategate. Earlier this year, Eli Manning claimed no knowledge of potential fraud involving “game-worn” memorabilia. Evidence has since come out that puts both of their claims into question.
That said, given the representation and other entourage that star NFL quarterbacks take on, it's entirely plausible that Prescott truly didn't know what was happening. Obviously, all Cowboys fans hope this is the last we'll hear about this incident.