There’s something of a controversy going on with the Cubs and their World Series rings. Not with the players’ rings, but the hundreds of rings that the club is giving out to employees and others with team affiliations. From the Chicago Tribune:
The Cubs are in the process of giving out 1,908 pieces of championship-related jewelry, including the championship rings valued at $30,000 to $40,000.
Spokesman Julian Green confirmed the team has asked almost all recipients to sign a document agreeing to insure the rings, report them as income, keep them for personal and not commercial use and offer the Cubs first right of refusal at $1 if they intended to sell them.
To be clear, the vast majority of the rings are not worth that much. Teams order various tiers of rings, with the big honkin’ ones going to the players. Most rings given out are worth a few hundred dollars. It’s those that the team does not want to see on eBay or whatever.
As the article notes, it’s not unprecedented for this sort of arrangement to exist with other bits of honorary hardware. If you win an Oscar or a Heisman Trophy you have to offer it back for a token payment as well. The idea is not to cheapen the award by allowing someone unaffiliated with the award to collect it like so much memorabilia.
Still, all of these things seem like a gift or a reward for a job well done as opposed to reflected glory of the entity handing out the merch. Once one gives away a gift or pays someone for their performance, one usually gives up a claim to the payment. Just my opinion, but retaining an interest in the perceived prestige of the object seems a bit too much to me. Let the people do what they want with their stuff.