The organizers of a mid-game promotion that involved teachers scrambling for $1 bills to help fund classroom purchases have apologized, following a national uproar.
A wave of criticism swept over the Sioux Falls Stampede after video of Saturday's "Dash for Cash" event went viral. In the clip, shared by Sioux Falls Argus Leader reporter Annie Todd, 10 teachers can be seen on their hands and knees, trying to stuff as many $1 bills into their clothing as possible before time runs out.
Viewers called it "degrading," "disgusting" dehumanizing" and more, with Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, Bernice King, weighing in with a quote from her father. Many also pointed to figures showing South Dakota teachers are among the worst-paid in the country, and school funding is in the bottom half.
The Stampede held the promotion in partnership with CU Mortgage Direct, which provided the money. Both have now apologized in a joint statement, saying:
"Although our intent was to provide a positive and fun experience for teachers, we can see how it appears to be degrading and insulting towards the participating teachers and the teaching profession as a whole. We deeply regret and apologize to all teachers for any embarrassment this may have caused."
They received 31 applications for the Dash for Cash and selected 10 participants, with each of the chosen teachers getting at least $500, the statement says. In addition, the team and CU Mortgage Direct are more than doubling the initial donation amount.
The 21 teachers that applied will each get $500, and the 10 that participated in promotion will receive another $500 on top of what they grabbed Saturday. That's $15,500 more than the initial $5,000 in cash scattered at center ice for the promotion.
"Moving forward, the Stampede and CU Mortgage Direct will continue to support our teachers and will work with the SD Teachers Association on future events that will provide funding for our next generation,," the statement says. "CU Mortgage Direct and the Stampede will have no further comment at this time."