May 14, 2005
Some time ago we noted the dispute between two football players over their uniform number. Clinton Portis, if you recall, agreed to pay $200,000 to Ifeanyi Ohalete to give Portis the right to uniform number 26 when both were teammates on the Washington Redskins. After the team released Ohalete, though, Portis allegedly stopped paying and Ohalete sued. They're now headed to court.
Well, it turns out that the commerce in uniform numbers is booming. In an interesting feature, the New York Times runs down all the various deals that players make, which range from Portis's $200,000 in cash to a $40,000 motorcycle, to a new kitchen--and all the way down to the two cases of beer that former baseball relief pitcher Mitch Williams gave to Philadelphia Phillies teammate John Kruk. ("The only reason Mitch wanted the number," says Kruk, "is because his wife had a lot of No. 28 jewelry and he didn't want to buy her any more jewelry. Not long after that, he got divorced and changed numbers.")
Thanks to Elizabeth Winston (Whittier) and Miguel Schor (Suffolk) for the tip.
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