Your Dak au­to­graph by a ro­bot?

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE -

Dak Prescott is be­ing ac­cused of us­ing a ma­chine to sign his au­to­graph for a mem­o­ra­bilia com­pany in­stead of sign­ing by hand.

Beck­ett Grad­ing Ser­vices, which eval­u­ates and val­ues trad­ing cards, has re­fused to ver­ify the Dal­las Cow­boys quar­ter­back’s sig­na­ture in a re­cent card set.

Steve Grad, prin­ci­pal au­then­ti­ca­tor at Beck­ett, said his com­pany looked at five au­to­graphed cards from col­lec­tors who re­ceived Prescott au­to­graph re­demp­tions from Panini’s 2016 Prizm set.

“They had a very ma­chine­like feel,” Grad told ESPN se­nior writer Darren Rovell. “You could see the starts and stops.”

The lack of nat­u­ral flow as­so­ci­ated with or­ganic sig­na­tures led to Grad’s con­clu­sion that they were done by au­topen, a ma­chine that politi­cians have used to sign doc­u­ments in bulk since the late 1950s.

“I im­me­di­ately knew they were au­topen,” Grad said. “I’ve never heard of a modern ath­lete do­ing this.”

It’s pos­si­ble that Prescott never saw the cards, as blank la­bels to be signed and even cards them­selves are of­ten sent to mar­ket­ing agents first.

When Panini sends cards or mem­o­ra­bilia to be signed by an ath­lete, it re­quires the ath­lete to sign an af­fi­davit stat­ing that what it is re­turn­ing is gen­uine.

At­tempts to reach Prescott, his agent Jeff Guer­reiro and his mar­ket­ing agent Peter Miller by Rovell, were un­suc­cess­ful.

Mes­sages left for Panini of­fi­cials also were not re­turned.

In May, Panini said it had dis­cov­ered that some of the au­to­graphed cards of At­lanta Fal­cons first-round draft pick Takkarist McKin­ley were not ac­tu­ally signed by him.

The com­pany promised to send au­then­tic au­to­graphs to cus­tomers who re­turned their signed McKin­ley cards.

‘Have a nice day’

Britt McHenry is keep­ing her­self busy on so­cial me­dia since ESPN let her go in April.

The vet­eran NFL re­porter, who sug­gested last week ESPN in­cluded her in its lay­offs be­cause of her con­ser­va­tive po­lit­i­cal views, resur­faced on Twit­ter on Wed­nes­day to dis­pute a claim made by sports­writer John Fe­in­stein. The for­mer Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist called her one of the “not so good or tal­ented people” the net­work fired.

“You don’t know how I did my job, nor Andy,” McHenry replied to a Twit­ter com­ment, re­fer­ring to her­self and for­mer col­lege bas­ket­ball an­a­lyst Andy Katz, who was also men­tioned in Fe­in­stein’s tweet. “I’ve seen you many times in per­son. In­ter­est­ing you never voiced this?”

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by Han­nah Withiam of the New

York Post, Fe­in­stein de­nied ever run­ning into McHenry, saying he once told Katz how he felt about his work but has “NO mem­ory” of see­ing McHenry over her three years with ESPN. McHenry, who has a his­tory of back­track­ing on di­vi­sive com­ments made on so­cial me­dia (such as delet­ing the tweet on her con­ser­vatism last week), changed course and pulled away from the spat.

“Go­ing to take the high road here with­out ex­tra com­men­tary,” she said. “Have a nice day.”

McHenry, who re­mains un­em­ployed, was no­to­ri­ously sus­pended from ESPN for one week in 2015 after lash­ing out at a tow­ing com­pany em­ployee in se­cu­rity cam­era footage that went vi­ral. She has since apol­o­gized and at­tempted to ex­plain her side of the in­ci­dent.

AP/TONY GUTIERREZ

Dal­las Cow­boys quar­ter­back Dak Prescott for mem­o­ra­bilia com­pa­nies are be­ing cre­ated by a ma­chine, in­dus­try ex­perts sus­pect.

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