Mo’ne Davis is, no doubt, a bright star in the future of baseball. Autographs by her are already selling on eBay for hundreds of dollars! But the sales of her barely-teenage signature are sparking controversy.
Mo’ne Davis, 13, made history when she became the first female to pitch a shutout game at the Little League World Series on Aug. 15! She is now a bonafide superstar, even gracing the illustrious cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. The young pitcher, who is the only female on her Philadelphia Taney Dragons team, is also one of only two girls competing in the series. But when memorabilia signed by her appeared for sale online, a major ethics question arose. Is it okay to profit off of a teenager?
Mo’ne Davis Autograph Controversy — Little League Pitcher Signature Worth $500
A baseball signed by Mo’ne, who pitches at 70MPH, came up for sale on eBay for $199, but by Wednesday Aug. 20, the online auction price for the item had risen to $500.
“I think it’s ridiculous. That’s absurd,” Steve Keener, CEO of Little League, Inc. told USA Today. “(But) I don’t know how you would ever control [these types of sales].”
Herein lies the problem. Just like with an adult celebrity, there is nothing put in place to stop a person, who obtains Mo’ne’s autograph, from selling it for profit.
And doing so is a big business!
Mo’ne Davis Memorabilia Could Be A Big Business
Brandon Steiner, owner of famed NY sports memorabilia company Steiner Sports, explained to USA Today that if it doesn’t jeopardize Mo’ne playing NCAA in the future, he would gladly pay the young pitching sensation up to $25,000 to sign 500-1,000 items for him. Brandon estimates he could easily make $100,000 from such a deal.
But a rule does exist, prohibiting NCAA athletes from gaining any type of profit from their name or image. Although a federal judge ruled this policy to be unfair in July, the NCAA is appealing this decision, and the outcome therefore remains unknown.
However, we feel that if others are able to profit off Mo’ne’s name, she should certainly be able to earn profits herself. But we also wonder — is any type of profit from a 13-year-old’s autograph a form of child exploitation?
HollyMoms, you decide! And make sure to let us know what you think!
— India Irving