Election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame creates virtual immortality. But actual immortality may be required to achieve the full benefits of the recognition.
As noticed on the Twitter feed of Mike Freeman, whose biography of Ken Stabler will be released this month, the powers-that-be at the Pro Football Hall of Fame have declined to give a gold jacket or a so-called Ring of Excellence to Stabler. Presumably because he’s not alive to wear them.
That’s precisely the kind of weak, short-sighted, tone-deaf thinking that sparked a needless squabble with the family of Junior Seau and that fueled the recent Hall of Fame game fiasco, which resulted in the cancellation of the game due to a slapstick effort to dry paint on the field.
Why shouldn’t the family of the Hall of Fame be able to own and display the gold jacket and the ring? The Hall of Fame doesn’t confiscate those items when living Hall of Fames die; the Hall of Famers shouldn’t deny a jacket and ring to those who didn’t win enshrinement during their lifetimes.
At a time when the NFL seems to be more sensitive than ever to public reaction, hopefully a loud and negative reaction to the treatment of the family of Ken Stabler will get the Hall of Fame (which is run by, among others, seven owners and Commissioner Roger Goodell) to do the right thing.