Evan Mathis, former NFL offensive guard, has been accused of card trimming by a user on BlowoutForums.com, an online forum for card collectors. This is not the first case of card trimming exposed by users on the Blowout Forum site, but such allegations are not typically directed at former professional athletes.
What is card trimming?
The value of collectible sports cards is calculated on several factors, including things like the player, the producer of the card, and the card’s rarity.
One of the most important factors is the card’s condition.
Professional graders rate cards on a scale of 1–10. In terms of Professional Sports Authenticator’s (PSA) scale, cards can range anywhere from low grades like “poor” (1), “fair” (1.5), or “good” (2), up to higher grades like “excellent” (5) or “near mint” (7), and all the way up to the highest grades of “mint” (9) and “gem mint” (10), which means nearly perfect condition. If a card does not have crisp edges, it is unlikely to receive a high grade, and its value drops accordingly.
As the name suggests, card trimming is the practice of cutting off tiny portions of the ends of cards to make the edges appear cleaner and crisper, and the corners sharper and better-defined. It’s a problem that has plague the card collecting industry for many years.
Carefully trimmed cards appear unaltered yet better-preserved. In some instances, especially in the past, collectors may have trimmed cards in order to fit them into a particular case. But increasingly, fraudsters are being caught trimming cards in order to sell them at a higher price.
Who is Evan Mathis?
Evan Mathis played in the NFL from 2005–2016. He was picked by the Carolina Panthers in the 3rd round of the draft and played there until 2007. After a brief stint in Miami, he played for the Cincinnati Bengals and then the Philadelphia Eagles for several years each, closing out his career with a year in Denver followed by a year in Arizona.
Mathis won a number of accolades over the course of his career, including two trips to the Pro Bowl, First-Team All-Pro in 2013, and a Super Bowl win with the Denver Broncos at the end of the 2015 season.
He seems to have been buying and selling sports cards fairly regularly over the last few years.
What is he accused of doing?
The user on Blowout Forum documents over a dozen instances of individual cards that appear to have been purchased by Mathis on one of a number of prominent online venues for collectibles, such as PWCC, eBay’s trading card marketplace, and then sold elsewhere with a higher grade and sharper-appearing edges.
The Blowout Forum sleuth provides links, for example, of lists of eBay transactions that seem to include purchases by Mathis. The usernames on these public pages are partially obscured, revealing only a first and final character. According to the sleuth, on these pages, “o***o,” “u***r,” and other such abbreviations refer to one of Mathis’s “known eBay accounts.”
The sleuth also includes a corresponding PWCC page for each of these purported purchases. Each PWCC link features images of the card in question, along with information like its PSA grade. The sleuth then adds a link to the sale of what appears to be the same card but with a better appearance and a higher grade.
Mathis (or at least, one of his “known eBay accounts”) purchased a paper trimmer on eBay not long after announcing his retirement in January 2017. The Sleuth suggests this is when he began his career as a card trimmer.
According to a screenshot from a now-deleted Reddit thread that was posted by SportsCardRadio.com, Mathis responded a few times on a Reddit post about the accusation, writing, under the username EvanMathis69 (69 being one of the jersey numbers he played with), “There is so much misinformation in that thread that it’s entertaining.”
Later in the same thread, Mathis indirectly defends himself, writing, “If someone posts about me anonymously on the internet and makes a bunch of claims, that’s really no invitation for me to have a reasonable conversation.”
Mathis goes on to dismiss the accusation—yet without affirming or denying it: “I’d rather just let it be and have fun with it instead of whining, hiding, or defending.”