Profiting from a Player’s Sudden and Untimely Death
By Sean Berry aka #1 Broncos Fan
Is profiting from a players sudden death right or wrong? I have seen all to often people try to make a quick buck on eBay when a player dies a sudden death whether it is in the NFL or any other sport. It happens a lot not only on eBay and even on other forums such as sports card trading sites. Recently the Denver Broncos lost a young player in his second year; Kenny McKinley. Generally he was a common player meaning he was not a star and his cards didn’t sell well if at all on the secondary market perhaps a couple bucks for an autograph card. As soon as his suicide was announced, eBay was flooded with his autographed rookie cards selling for way more than the cards usually averaged. His autographed rookies were selling for $15- $20 depending on brand and scarcity and sometimes more! Many people say it is due to supply and demand and that because of the sudden death of a player has created an increase demand which cannot be met by the supply resulting in increased selling price. I recently asked fellow members of sportscardforum.com if they thought it’s morally right to profit from someone’s death or to take advantage of the situation to make a quick buck? I was amazed by the replies I got…
The opinions were split and while certain members saw nothing wrong with selling the cards of a dead player to make a profit, others had a completely different opinion. Seahawks fan said: “I agree with what happens on the field of play makes them worth more. But I also would never sit on a card like that. Look at Gaines Adams and Chris Henry they weren’t “Superstars” on the field so they only sold/traded well right after they died. No one cares about them now. As sad as that seems that is just the way it goes.”
As for Asujbl he was of the same opinion: “No problem with it at all – so if there is a buyer out there (for whatever reason) that wants to pay me $50.00 for a McKinley RC Auto (as obviously this topic was brought up because of him) I’m just supposed to sit on it, wait until it isn’t worth anything again, purely out of respect for someone I don’t personally know? That’s insane. I pay my respects by praying for the family, helping with prevention (suicide, cancer, etc… doesn’t matter), or whatever…not hold onto a football card or other piece of memorabilia that some one else might want to purchase. Apply the concept to any form of business – if a stock price jumps because of a merger with a foreign company, but thousands lost their jobs in the process, do I have to hold the stock out of respect for those that lost their pay checks? Of course not – I realize death/unemployment aren’t the same thing – but the theory is still the same. It’s capitalizing off the unfortunate situation of someone else. That’s capitalism – and real life.”.
Others, like Duwall, see the hobby as a business venture. He had this to say: “This is a business. We ALL want to get the most out of our trading card collections. When selling on eBay there is no moral obligation, it’s about selling to the highest bidder. If I put up an autographed card of McKinney for 99 cents and it sells for 99 cents I see nothing wrong with that. If I put it up for 99 cents and it sells for $34 I see nothing but positives. And it’s too bad if the family doesn’t like it, they really don’t have any fair say about it as the card is part of my private property which I am selling”.
However, not everyone agreed that there was nothing wrong with it. For instance, Pghin08 spoke of his own experience: “· I did it after Darren Williams was killed, and I didn’t end up feeling good about it, so I haven’t done it since, and I won’t in the future. But hey, to each his own.”. Pcbuck had a similar opinion: “I wouldn’t sell a players card after their death. I had a few Gaines Adams cards and now a McKinley autograph that will sit in my box, likely forever.”
But it’s Oztatar who seemed to be the most passionate about the question: “Of course, you seem to be saying that the above situation is all right. I don’t believe it is, regardless of whether it is legal or not. I was raised to believe that you should not profit off the suffering and misfortune of others, and that the lives of others shouldn’t be destroyed to increase the wealth of a selective few. I realize however that not everyone was raised that way however or even if they were that they would still feel that way.”
Questioned on if he would keep the money if he inherited shares of a successful company which had just fired numerous employees, he replied: “In the above situation if I happened to inherit the shares (which isn’t going to happen) I would sell them and then donate the money to charities that help the unemployed/homeless. The same with McKinley, I would sell his cards and donate the money to charities that deal with suicide prevention and depression.”.
Others like Sanjosefuji attempted to rationalize the question: “Personally for me… I don’t feel right trying to make a profit off of an individual’s death. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t understand why people do it. It’s all about supply and demand. When it comes to players’ autographs the supply is set and demand is usually greater when the news is current. People who sell immediately after the death of an athlete are only providing the supply to help meet the demand.”.
As you can see people have many different views on whether a person should profit from a players sudden death or not. As sad as it may be, this happens and whether it is greed or supply and demand who can really tell? Personally I think its each person’s own choice and they have the right to decide to sell or not. No matter whether it is morally wrong or insensitive. I would never ever try to profit from a player’s death even if I could turn a quick profit from their cards. Each person is raised to have different beliefs and yes, in this day and age it seems to me that if someone can make a quick buck they will. You have to ask yourself do you want to jump on the band wagon and sell to turn a profit from someone else’s misfortune or do you just keep the cards and toss them in an old shoebox and shove them in your closet?
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