The Miami commercial real estate investor who paid more than a half-million dollars for the ball used for what was presumed to be Tom Brady’s final NFL touchdown pass no longer feels deflated.
For Ron Firman, any buyer’s remorse has been supplanted by resolution.
Lelands, the prominent sports-memorabilia auction house that handled the sale, announced late Thursday that the transaction has been voided. The authenticated ball Brady threw to Mike Evans in the fourth quarter of the Jan. 23 NFC division playoff loss to the Rams — presumed to be Brady’s final touchdown pass after he later announced he was retiring — had sold to Firman for $518,628 in an online auction that closed March 12.
Brady unretired March 13, announcing via social media that he would return to Tampa Bay for a 23rd NFL season.
“Following Tom Brady’s unretirement, and after discussions with both the buyer and consignor, we have mutually agreed to void the sale of the football,” Lelands said in a statement.
“The ball has not been returned to the consignor, and the plan now is for Lelands to sell it privately as per the seller’s wishes. There are multiple parties interested in purchasing the football.”
Lelands confirmed Firman as the buyer Friday. Firman reached out to the Tampa Bay Times, saying he purchased the ball with the intent of having it displayed in a museum, preferably the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He said he expressed that desire to Lelands representatives after the auction and just before Brady unretired.
“Something that important should be in the public domain,” said Firman, who indicated he has a history of purchasing and displaying collectibles in museums.
“My exact words were, ‘This shouldn’t be in some billionaire’s vault. This should be enjoyed by the general public.’ And I like doing that, purchasing things and having the museums be able to share them with the general public.”
Firman, who hasn’t met Brady, said he probably wouldn’t attempt to purchase the ball again but he would take up Brady on another charitable endeavor.
Five days after unretiring, Brady said on Twitter he’d be willing to donate a bitcoin to the charity of choice of the person who bought the ball, which had plummeted in value by then. On Friday, Firman responded that he would split a bitcoin for Brady’s favorite charity.
“One thing I see with Tom Brady — I’ve seen it in the past, and I see it now — is that he cared,” Firman said.
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“He felt bad in this situation. And we all know that he’s a great football player. … But in the end, it’s even more important that he’s a great person and he has heart. In the end, that’s what matters most.
“I appreciate that, and that’s why I offered to split a bitcoin with him to his favorite charity.”
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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