Moreover, Gabe reminds Troy of Troy's own sacrifices and inability to control his fate in certain aspects of his life. Troy is ashamed of his use of Gabe's money to buy their house, but without it, they would still live in poverty. Troy's manhood is bruised because he knows it cost the Maxson family part of Gabriel's brain to have what little assets they own. This sacrifice contributes to Troy's often-warped sense of duty. Troy feels that if he had been born white with the same talent he had in his prime, or if the Major Leagues had integrated, his family would live carefree. And even with his work ethic and years of commitment to the sanitation department, he has not been able to get a promotion because the union prohibits blacks from driving the trash trucks.
Troy's inability to control his fate undoubtedly influences his adamant response to Cory's dream to play college football. Troy's experience has been that even when you try your best and sacrifice what you have to give, the rules do not always apply in your favor as a black American. Similarly, Troy has taken from Gabe what is rightfully his money for his own use.