Ex-Giants player under fire for alleged Pokemon card scam

The collectible card world is a niche space that is full of money and made up of passionate people.

So it’s no wonder, then, that former NFL linebacker Blake Martinez and his company, “Blakes Breaks,” have drawn criticism for allegedly pulling a fast one during a break and making a subtle pack switch to scam a customer.

Jesse Gibson of the Ringer’s “Sports Cards Nonsense” podcast explained the situation — that was live and recorded on video — on the July 31 episode:

“Late last week, one of (Martinez’s) sellers was live — there’s video,” Gibson said. “There’s a pack in the corner of the screen that they’re about to open next. They bring their right hand up to grab that pack. You can obviously see the other pack — there’s another pack in their hand, and they subtly pull back, dropping the pack that was on screen and using the pack that was in their hand.”

The game played allows buyers to win the “bounty” for guessing the card or pack chosen, this one an energy card “bounty.”

Martinez, who spent two seasons with the Giants and retired from the NFL at 28, made Pok?mon cards his full-time job in November 2022. His company has earned $11.5 million in less than a year, Martinez told The Athletic in a recent story.

“It was a pretty slick pack switch,” Mike Gioseffi, the co-host of “Sports Cards Nonsense,” said.

Martinez responded to the incident that took place on Whatnot in a video captured on social media that left him emotional.

“I understand the optics,” Martinez said. “I understand how it looks, trust me. I know the type of business I run. I know the type of decisions I made across the board.

“I made a good amount of money — everybody knows, in the NFL — I knew stepping into this was going to have a target on my back.”

He said that the person who ran the break, whom he referred to as “Snee,” had “no ill intent whatsoever,” though he did say Snee, a college student, would not be streaming for his company anymore.

The breaker, PokeSnee on Instagram, wrote an apology during the weekend, saying: “I’m sure many of you have seen the post and I just want to state that I had absolutely no malicious intent during this stream or any of my whatnot shows over the past 2 years. I would never want to do anything that would jeopardize my spot in this community and especially BlakesBreakes.”

The breaker denied doing anything on purpose and said she was not trying to hide anything but understands how it looks.

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Gibson reported that Whatnot said, “They didn’t break any rules.”

Martinez, a fourth-round pick of the Packers in the 2014 draft, spent seven seasons in the NFL and now has 20 full-time staffers and hosts 16 hours a day of streams on Whatnot.

“I know people that come in here, spend their hard-earned money that they could spend elsewhere – and I want this to be a safe space,” Martinez said. “I’m definitely going to take this as a learning experience … and I’m going to make an improvement.”


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Jimmy Hascup may be reached at jhascup@njadvancemedia.com.


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