There appears to be a happy ending in the saga surrounding the gloves that Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph wore when he made the game-winning catch in the teams wild-card win Sunday over the New Orleans Saints and thought he was donating to charity.
As of Wednesday night, they had brought in more than $11,000 for the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Masonic Childrens Hospital, one of Rudolphs favorite charities.
Thats mostly due to Jason King, a die-hard Vikings fan from New Jersey. He bought the gloves, then learned that Rudolph had been duped into handing the white gloves over to someone who was in the teams locker room and wanted them for a charitable event, but instead put them up for sale online.
I felt I had to reach out to Rudy and make it right, King said in an interview Thursday.
King took precautions not to be tricked before he bought the gloves for $375 on eBay. He carefully examined photos of the gloves on eBay and compared them with those posted on Getty Images to be sure they were authentic.
There are so many scam artists that try to sell stuff that is not game-used, King said. I saw the string on the middle finger of the glove to verify they were real, and I jumped online and bought them.
Shortly after Kings purchase about 2 p.m. Wednesday, social media was abuzz with the news about how Rudolphs gloves made it to the online auction site.
King said a friend of his from a Vikings memoribilia Facebook group spoke with Rudolph and learned how the gloves may have ended up in the wrong hands. The locker room was teeming with reporters after the Vikings thrilling 26-20 overtime win, and someone in the room apparently asked Rudolph for his gloves.
The good-natured Rudolph handed them over and even autographed them. Rudolph said the person wasnt a local reporter that he sees daily or a national reporter.
Locker room was a zoo, he asked for them, I said of course, Rudolph said in a tweet.
Rudolph learned of the sale Wednesday.
I saw this & its disappointing, Rudolph said in a tweet on Wednesday. A member of the media in the locker room after the game asked if he could have my gloves for a charity benefit, so I said of course and I will even sign them for you! Well he got me, sold on eBay 3 days later.
King, 34, who said he has been a Vikings fan since he opened his first pack of football cards when he was 2, thought he had added Rudolphs gloves to his extensive collection of Vikings gear, which includes an Adrian Peterson game-worn jersey plus jerseys worn by Stefon Diggs and Danielle Hunter. But he knew he could not let things slide. He decided to donate them to charity.
Hopefully I can help turn this into a good situation and help raise some money for the childrens hospital, King wrote.
Rudolph replied, Hey Jason, really cool of you to do this! @UMNChildrens will greatly appreciate it.
King turned the donations over to University of Minnesota Childrens Hospital, said Nick Engbloom, director of Community Partnerships for the hospital. By Thursday afternoon, donations has passed the $10,500 mark, including two $1,000 gifts.
Football fans rally behind cool causes and initiatives, Engbloom said.
The money will be used to pay for supplies and programs in Kyle Rudolphs End Zone, a play space at the hospital for patients and their families.
King said he still does not have the gloves. Hes hopeful he will get them, but the seller, purpleplanet19, didnt supply a tracking number to show their whereabouts, King said. If he gets them, King said there is talk he will come to Minnesota to meet Rudolph and give him the gloves to put on display at the hospital.
As a special gesture, Rudolph promised to give King the gloves he will wear in the Vikings game Saturday at San Francisco.
This is not the first time Vikings fans and even those of other teams have rallied for a cause. Two years ago, fans donated $221,000 to injured punter Thomas Morsteads foundation after he was the first Saints player to return to the field for a meaningless extra point after the Minneapolis Miracle. The pass play gave the Vikings a playoff win over the Saints on the games last play. Morestead gave the money to Childrens Minnesota.
Now benovelent fans are stepping up again.
I never anticipated it to jump like this, King said. The outpouring of fans even those of other teams donating money and saying they are Vikings fans for the playoffs, its awesome.