GoFundMe Controversy

Michael OConnell, Staff Writer

How much are the Super Bowl Champion Scituate Sailors worth?  Some have indicated it’s not $20,000. A recently uploaded GoFundMe page is seeking donations in order to buy members of the team a set of commemorative rings, and a “special gift” for cheerleaders.  The donation goal is set at $20,000. Considering that around 60 students are involved in the football program, the organizers are looking for about $350 to award each student. The fundraiser proved to be contentious to Twitter users, who debated the validity of such a fundraiser.  

Originally, one user, a recent Scituate High graduate criticized the fundraising goal, saying that the money could be better spent on “meals for the homeless,” or for a “decent raise for teachers.”  It was unclear as to whether the user knew the fundraiser was initiated by the Sailors football parents association called the “Gridiron,” and not by the school itself. Other users—many of whom play on the football team themselves—were quick to point out that GoFundMe donations are voluntary, and that contributions only had to be made by those who appreciated the cause.  Other users were not as polite, and insulted the critic as a “brick,” and “crybaby social justice warrior.”

The controversy surrounding this fundraiser is likely to pass quickly, especially considering the campaign has struggled to get off its feet.  An interesting question has been presented regarding the use of websites to raise money, however. Should a website like GoFundMe be restricted for charitable causes only?  Clicking around one can find other campaigns with more urgency and consequence. Anyone should be able to use websites like this if they need to, but when campaigns like Scituate’s Gridiron’s are compared to ones that are raising money for terminally ill children, or families devastated by natural disasters, criticism should be anticipated to follow.  

The hardworking members of the Scituate football program should be rewarded for their historical achievement; however, seeking donations to fund such rewards seems to have crossed a line.  It may have been more appropriate for the team to seek donations around town, but as internet services have become more convenient, their approach is understandable. As of Friday, December 14th, 2018, the fundraiser raised roughly ten percent of their ultimate goal.