Canadian Football League

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A coveted Edmonton Eskimos Grey Cup ring - valued at $10,000 - is being sold on EBay, the online auction marketplace. The diamond-studded 10k gold ring, which was owned by former Esks defensive back Byron Capers, was put on the auction block Sunday.
"Obviously you're disappointed when you see it on EBay, but at the end of the day it's a personal decision," said Eskimos spokesman Dave Jamieson.
The Eskimos signed Capers in August 2003, after he was let go by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Esks put him on the practice roster and he never got into a league game while with the team.
Nevertheless, each member of the team received a Grey Cup ring in 2003, after the Esks beat the Montreal Alouettes 34-22, said Jamieson.
The Eskimos released Capers in May 2004.
Stu Laird, president of the Canadian Football League Players' Association, said he hadn't spoken to Capers and didn't know why - or if - he sold the ring.
"I imagine this is not the first instance of (a Grey Cup ring being sold)," said Laird. "It's an individual's personal property and I guess what they do with it (is up to them)."
Laird admitted, however, a disparity exists between the league's best-paid players and those who earn the league minimum of $37,000 annually. "As players you want to make as much as you can at your craft," Laird said. "Everybody's circumstances are different."
Laird said he wouldn't consider parting with the 1992 Grey Cup ring he earned as a member of the Calgary Stampeders. "I know how much it means to me personally," Laird said. "But everybody's different."
Capers couldn't be reached for comment.
The seller, who identified himself as 'Pat,' said yesterday he bought the ring - which bears Capers' name and number, 28 - from an Ottawa pawn shop. But he wouldn't say what he paid for it.
A member of the Ottawa Renegades, Capers is scheduled to become a free agent today - meaning he's free to join any Canadian Football League team he wants.
Capers was an all-star cornerback at Florida State University between 1993 and 1996 before coming to the Canadian Football League. He was also an All-American in the 4x100-metre track event.
Jamieson said the Eskimos haven't discussed whether to try to recover the ring. But he said players from the championship team worked hard to win it and wear it with pride.


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