The seller of the 1986 Rose Bowl ring considered my research and the exposure of the alleged name of the original owner to be low brow. Here’s all the posts on this topic for context:
#1 eBay Watch: Oh Man, 1986 Rose Bowl Ring
#2 Is this Garland Rivers’ Rose Bowl ring?
#3 Ring Saga Update
Eddie Libman, a.k.a. eBay’s “Buckhead_Bennie”, dropped this on me today:
I am writing to comment on your recently posted article concerning the 1986 Michigan Big Ten Championship Rose Bowl ring which was listed on ebay and sold June 9, 2008
The original article which drew attention to our auction seemed to serve a purpose and I was amused by the commentary referring to the seller as “a true beauty himself” which would refer to me.
The following update to the first article and posted to your web site after the auction ended unfortunately came across as slightly misguided despite what most likely were good intentions behind it.
The article correctly stated that our auction was canceled then re listed with (relevant) information that was inadvertently omitted from the original listing information such as the gold weight, and size of the ring along with additional posted images of the ring taken from various angles.
We also provided a very small amount of personal information about the player who was originally awarded the ring which was simply used to narrow down but not identify conclusively who this player was.
We provided this additional information not to increase the selling price of the ring as suggested in the article, not that there would be anything wrong with that, but to satisfy the numerous requests from potential bidders for us to provide more information and hints about the name of the player himself.
We received several emails from individuals who could not understand our insistence on protecting the the identity of the player, one bidder actually informed us that because we refused to divulge the player’s name he would bid (conservatively) based upon his assumption that this player was an “insignificant starter”.
Despite my feeling that it would be like speaking to a wall I informed this bidder that it was not the name we were protecting it was the privacy of the player, just as we would do for the bidder if it was his name that appeared on that ring.
I pointed out as well the obvious flaw with his logic that is by definition there is no such thing as an insignificant starting football player, certainly not one who starts and competes in such a high profile game as a Rose Bowl.
It was surprising to see however that someone such as myself who has absolutely no knowledge of the University of Michigan, or in College Football, The Rose Bowl, The Big Ten or the player named on the ring would insist on protecting this player from possible unwanted exposure, yet your web site which thrives on these subjects would go through such lengths to undermine his privacy by means such as examining with a magnifying glass photographs of this ring for the sole and seemingly pointless purpose of exposing the identity of this player.
I would not second guess the motivation of your web site or behind others who claim to have concern for this player and wonder whether hard times led to his ring being auctioned on ebay, even a former Michigan coach from 1986 contacted me expressing his concern. However, good intentions aside, I fail to see how the exposure of this player in your article could be considered to be in his or anyone else’s best interest.
If the individual you spoke with was the actual player named on this ring it seems completely clear that we did the right if not the most profitable thing by keeping the identity private. Also, based upon what seemed to be genuine embarrassment, and his reluctance to divulge any information about this ring I do not believe the former player was exactly appreciative for the manner of exposure he received by your web site due to conditions and circumstances that existed regarding this ring.
I appreciate the time and exposure given to our auction by your fine web site.
My response boils down to a few things:
1. I took many lengths in my few posts on this topic to cite that we have no idea why or who or even IF the player sold the ring. This remains a fact – we have no clue how this ring ended up on eBay and still don’t. I hope I handled any potential embarrassment that way. Quoting me several times:
** “As far as these rings going up on eBay, it hurts a little bit to see these up on the block but we just don’t know the circumstances behind the sale (if it was sold legitimately)”
** “Once again we don’t know if the Miami, FL native would sell his ring or if he willingly did, why.”
** “…I certainly wouldn’t know if he’s a guy that would sell his ring or if so, why. Of course there’s little doubt the occasional stolen item ends up on eBay so its existence doesn’t mean a player willingly gave up this award.”
** “The possibilities are endless and I know that many players give their rings to family/friends especially if they have rings from other seasons. All in all it’s really none of anyone’s business but Bishop’s as to how it may have got here and if he doesn’t want to disclose that’s cool.”
2. As I wrote, I heard from an actual player that was concerned who called Bishop and spoke with he and Rivers and they discussed the ring, this site and what have you. That player email me and thanked me. He made no mention of any concern on Bishop’s part on the post on this site. If he was concerned about my tiny site posting this article I would have done something about it.
3. For those few who read this blog, you know that eBay and history are two key elements, and digging into the clues to find the original ring bearer fits into that niche. I didn’t do it to expose or make fun of Bishop.
4. I appreciate the concern by the seller over the identity of the player (someone is selling a Washington Rose Bowl ring right now with the name openly exposed – “Saunders” if you are looking for him). That said, without the clues I would have had no idea how to determine the name on the ring. The side angle of the ring only helped to validate it.
5. As for being “seemingly pointless” to expose the name of the player – no, it was a) fun to dig through the history and try to address the clues and b) I had a teammate post on this site that he was concerned. And to your point of not seeing any good coming out of this, I disagree. Three former teammates got on the phone as a result of this and talked and about 22 other people read my post and learned a little Michigan history and perhaps got entertained. And hey, if someone who read this site found your ring and bought it, well, I’ll get a piece of that too which will end up supporting a good cause.
6. All this said, Buckhead_Bennie, you are still a beauty in my book.