The gold jackets and Hall of Fame rings given out by the Pro Football Hall of Fame are for inductees only — not their family members or anyone else.
That’s the Football Hall’s position and it’s sticking to it, despite protests by people who are outraged that the family of Ken Stabler, who died last year, was denied the chance to have the same keepsakes as the living inductees who joined the Hall with him this year.
Stabler’s daughter Kendra Moyes Stabler tweeted that she was told the Hall doesn’t want family members or others fighting over or selling the keepsakes. On Tuesday, the Hall released a statement that read, in part:
While the iconic bronzed busts are created to memorialize every member of the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame Ring and Gold Jacket are items presented to living Hall of Fame members to be worn exclusively by them as evidence and pride of their having been elected to sport’s most elite fraternity. At no time in its 53-year history has the Hall of Fame presented either of these personal adornments posthumously or retroactively to a family member of a deceased Hall of Famer. The Hall of Fame believes, to the greatest extent possible, it should avoid creating or contributing to family disputes relative to ownership as well as the potential public sale or distribution of items intended for the exclusive use by a Hall of Famer.
The Hall of Fame Board of Trustees, at the request of the Stabler Family, reviewed this policy at its June 2016 meeting and determined that a change to the longstanding policy was not warranted.
Members of Raider Nation and many more have railed against the Hall’s policy.
“No way I should have my dad’s ring and Bruce Allen doesn’t have his dad’s,” Raiders owner Mark Davis, whose father Al was inducted while he was alive, told ESPN.com on Saturday. “No way I should have my dad’s ring and Junior Seau’s family doesn’t have his. Same with Dick Stanfell’s family, and Kenny’s family.”
Longtime Raiders exec Amy Trask tweeted: “This makes no sense — it’s petty — no good reason not to give these to the families of players inducted posthumously — fix this please. It’s stunningly thoughtless to families of those who may have compromised their health to play. It’s simply dumb.”
Even Tom Hanks has taken up the cause.