Editor: We’ve published many stories about people with hearing loss fighting for captioning in movies, on airplanes, on television, etc. I think this is the first one we’ve run about fighting for captioning at sporting events. Here’s the press release from the NAD.
Silver Spring, MD – The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Joseph B. Espo, an attorney with Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, filed a class action lawsuit against the Washington Redskins and FedEx Field football stadium. The complaint, filed with the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, claims that the Washington Redskins and FedEx Field failed to provide captioning for announcements made over the public address system before, during, and after Washington Redskins home games, as required under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The class action lawsuit was brought on behalf of all individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, who attend or in the future will attend Washington Redskins home games at FedEx Field. Representing the class are Shane Feldman, Brian Kelly, and Paul Singleton, who are deaf or hard of hearing and who regularly attend Washington Redskins home games at FedEx Field. Feldman says, “I am a life-long, die-hard Redskins fan and I love watching the Washington Redskins play at FedEx Field, but I miss out on the total game experience because I cannot hear the information announced over the public address system. Providing captioning is not rocket science; it is simple, and it is the right thing to do.”
Marc Charmatz, Senior Attorney with the NAD Law and Advocacy Center said, “People who are deaf or hard of hearing have been excluded from large public events for decades. Providing captioning in stadiums will ensure effective communication, equal access, and an equal opportunity for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.”
The complaint asks the court to order the Washington Redskins and FedEx Field to provide and display captioning on the scoreboards and video monitors for all announcements made over the public address system, including plays and penalties called, safety and emergency information, and any other announcements.
According to Espo, “The failure to provide and display captioning for the announcements made over the public address system discriminates against deaf and hard of hearing Washington Redskins fans. The Washington Redskins have known about this for years and did nothing. Deaf and hard of hearing fans are tired of being left out of the game.”
About the NAD The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), founded in 1880, safeguards the civil rights of deaf and hard of hearing Americans. As a national federation of individual members, state associations, organizational and corporate affiliates, the advocacy work of the NAD encompasses a broad spectrum of areas including, but not limited to, accessibility, education, employment, healthcare, mental health, rehabilitation, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. The NAD website has a wealth of advocacy information and resources.