Yeah I pawned my Super Bowl Ring

5 Feb

Super Bowl XXXVI Ring

By Chris McCoy

Why on earth would anyone sell their Super Bowl ring?

Because we now hold football in such high esteem in American culture, to the average man this act seems blasphemous. Yet hundreds of Super Bowl rings exchange hands every year. Just ask Tim Robbins, the proprietor of Championship-rings.net, a California based website that sells college and pro sports rings. Last year alone his site sold over 350 Super Bowl Rings. WHOA

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Lester Hayes, 1980 AP Defensive Player of the Year

Brokers say that the sale of these rings is usually due to one of the three D’s: Drugs, Divorce, and Death. Consider Lester Hayes for example, who ironically also currently lives in Modesto, California, in the late ’90’s Hayes’ cash was all tied up in a “Charles Barkley-kind of bet”. Rather than ask his friends and family for money and reveal his gambling addiction, he pawned his Super Bowl XVIII ring for “several hundred dollars”! That’s right HUNDRED… not thousand. He eventually lost the bet, and came down with an illness; making it impossible for him to repay the loan and get the ring back before deadline.

Losing the ring actually helped Hayes realized it was time for change, “It was spiritual chastisement, I can see this now, it taught me a valuable lesson: to stop gambling.” Hayes never got the ring back, in the picture above, he’s rocking a replica (on you’re right – his left hand).

Dexter Manley, though, did get his Super Bowl ring back. Manley was a Pro Bowl defensive end in 1986 and one of the 70 Greatest Redskins of All-Time (2002), he also won two Super Bowl rings with the Redskins, but sold his Super Bowl XVII ring in 1998 to buy cocaine.

Manley’s mentor, Houston lawyer John O’Quinn, bought the ring back from the pawnshop and presented it to Manley the following year. Manley refused to keep it, though. “I knew the beast was still inside of me,” Manley says, which is why he gave it back to O’Quinn for safekeeping. O’Quinn passed in 2009, and in his will he left instructions that stated that Manley could only retrieve the ring if he was truly drug free. Having been clean since ’06, Manley reclaimed the ring last January.

Not all Super Bowl Rings change hands because of hard times or hard living, though. Former New England Patriots cornerback Je’Rod Cherry sold one of his three championship rings in 2008 after being challenged by a girl named Courtney at a youth conference to sell one of his rings and give the proceeds to charity. Although he knew it was for good, Cherry toiled over the decision, and didn’t know which one of his rings to sell, he won all three with the Patriots, but his first – Super Bowl XXXVI – clearly meant the most to him. Feeling he had been prompted by God, who used Courtney as a vessel, Cherry sold his most beloved ring and raised $171,000 to build orphanages in Thailand and Cambodia, save children from sex trafficking there, and to feed impoverished children in Massachusetts and Ohio.

“A lot of people got help,” Cherry said. “Children were taken out of brothels and given homes to live in. It’s definitely something I’m proud to be a part of.”

Brock Williams, seen here duing Super Bowl week of SB XXXVI, never played a down on the Patriots' 2001 team, but still received a Super Bowl ring. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Several other Super Bowl XXXVI rings have gone for far less money and far less noble causes, including Brock William’s ring which sold for $2,600! William’s seems to have only needed the loan, with intentions to repay the debt, because he was offered over $10,000 but declined for a loan of just $2,600. Upon hearing about teammates who’ve exchanges rings for so little, Cherry said, “It saddens me that he was in that place, that the desperation kicked in and he needed to do that. I understand when you’re struggling and need to do what you have to to get by. You have this nice ring and bills to pay… but he’s living in America – that money probably didn’t go far.”

That ring is now available for $100,000, one hell of a mark up! See the ring:

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