The cost of a championship ring can exceed a few hundred dollars or more, which can be a lot of money for many families. Detroit’s Martin Luther King football has a good problem on its hands and fingers, winning three state titles in the last four years, and having to purchase rings to commemorate them.
The Crusaders defeated the Muskegon Big Reds 41-25 in last season’s Division 3 state title game, but had yet to receive their championship rings. A few phone calls were made and with the help from former UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles Jr., DPSCD Board of Education member Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, and other community advocates, King players received their rings at the headquarters of the Michigan Chronicle newspaper.
“I called Angelique, she mentioned it to Jimmy, and they went to different people and got it done for us,” said King head coach Tyrone Spencer, a 2003 graduate of King. “Whoever helped and supported this cause, we appreciate them for doing this for the boys.”
Detroit King assistant coach Zach Carr shows off his state title ring with players Chris Love (left) and Deon Buford (right). PHOTO: Kory WoodsKing’s new ring is studded with diamonds, with the words “State Champions” in the school’s black and gold colors. The front of the ring has the school’s logo, commemorating each of its four football state titles (2007, 2015, 2016 and 2018), which is the most in PSL history. To add some personal flavor to them, the player’s name, position and number is engraved on the side.
“It’s beautiful,” said senior wide receiver Rashawn Williams, who was sporting his two state title rings. “Anytime you can earn hardware like this, it’s amazing. We are doing something historical at King by winning all these rings and it’s important to remember our brotherhood.”
Some of the players admitted that they were worried if their rings would come at all, since their victory over Muskegon was nine months ago. Others allowed the process to play out.
“I didn’t think it would be this long, but I didn’t trip about it,” laughed senior running back Peny Boone. “I’m happy about getting this ring, but I still have to play my senior year and get another one, which I think we can do.”
Many of the players that earned rings last season were not in attendance because they had already left for college. The current seniors will be college bound as well in 2020, including Boone and Williams, who are committed to Maryland and Indiana, respectively. Khalil Forbes, a defensive back on last year’s team, will study medicine in college with aspirations of being a doctor. The players perform at a high level on and off the field and community leaders around Detroit felt they should be rewarded for their work.
“Our boys are champions on and off the field,” said Peterson-Mayberry, who is an alumna of King. “This moment is very special to me and I wear the black and gold of King wherever I go. People need to know that public education produces champions in more than one way and these King football players deserve their rings.”
“Mr. Jimmy Settles is one of those people who said the players deserved rings and he made it happen. He is a die-hard Detroiter and more importantly, he loves the youth and students of the City of Detroit,” Added Peterson-Mayberry.
King will open the season as one of the best teams in the state. USA Today already ranked them as the No. 24 high school team in the country. The Crusaders play Detroit Novi Catholic Central August 31 at Wayne State University in the Prep Kickoff Classic.