I was upset yesterday when I heard the news that Giants legendary LB Lawrence Taylor was selling his Super Bowl ring. We found out today that it’s really his son doing so without Taylor’s knowledge… and my outlook hasn’t changed. It still kinda sucks.
Why do I care if LT sells his Super Bowl ring?
I don’t know LT. Never met him, never interviewed him. I did watch him a lot as a kid growing up in New York, though, and that was fun. But he was never one of my favorite players or anything. And what he’s gone through over the past couple years off the field hasn’t done wonders for his public image.
So I’ve wrestled it around in my head, trying to figure out why I actually care that his ring is for sale. And I think I finally may have gotten to a point where I understand.
Athletes compete in arenas of which most of us only dream. I grew up playing high school football in front of 200 people, LT played while hundreds of millions watched for the highest of stakes. A slight difference. And at the end, when he stood on the top of the mountain, he received the one thing in sports you can never, ever buy — a championship ring.
No matter how hard you try (need I insert an example?), you can’t even spend endless money to build a team to earn one. Because you still need to do it on the field. And when you do, you get a shiny ring. It is the symbol of all that is right in sports, the one tangible piece of property that says you have competed against the best and won. Kids dream of it, sure, but so do professional athletes (ask LeBron James).
And as teams like the Patriots have proven since 2007, worlds need to align for athletes to spend their offseason wearing one denoting that they are Super Bowl champions. Being among the best isn’t good enough. It’s nearly impossible to win. Ever seen one in person? I have, and I can never stop staring at them. If sports has a holy grail, this is it.
And now, LT is dirtying it up. He’s kinda ruining it. Or, his son is. But the fact that he hasn’t stopped it means he’s complicit.
Taylor is allowing the ring to cross over from a world where no one can buy it to a world where anyone with a few thousand can buy it. He’s taking what the Super Bowl ring was — priceless — and putting a price on it. He’s robbing it of its hallowed standing among the sport’s greats… and allowing some dude to wear it.
I cringe when I think of the guy who buys it, wearing it to some party and explaining how he bought it on e-Bay or whatever. So, that’s why I care. Because now, if I had enough money, I could buy a Super Bowl ring… when no one should be able to buy it.
It’s just kinda sad. A kick in the stomach from life’s realities.