The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Joseph B. Espo, an attorney with Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, today filed a lawsuit against the University of Maryland College Park and several of its officials over the university’s long-standing and continuing failure to provide captioning of announcements and commentary made over the public address systems during athletic events at Byrd Stadium and the Comcast Center. The complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The lawsuit asks the court to order that captioning be provided as required under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Sean Markel and Dr. Joseph Innes, two individuals who are deaf and who regularly attend football games at Byrd Stadium and both men’s and women’s basketball games at Comcast Center.
The complaint asks the court to order the university to provide and display captioning on the scoreboards and jumbotrons for all announcements made over the public address system, including plays and penalties called, safety and emergency information, and any other announcements.
“Athletic events are tremendously popular for the general public to attend, and this is true also for deaf and hard of hearing fans,” stated Howard A. Rosenblum, Chief Executive Officer of the NAD. “All professional and collegiate sports teams need to recognize that many fans, not just those who are deaf or hard of hearing, need captioning in sports stadiums and arenas to understand what is being announced. Every sports team should implement quality captioning systems visible to everyone not only to comply with the law but also to meet the needs of everyone.”
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 University of Maryland sports fans. The University and its employees 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 state association, 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 (https://www.nad.org) has a wealth of advocacy information and resources.
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For more information regarding this story, please send email to the “Contact Person” identified at the top of the release or Joseph B. Espo, (410) 962-1030 jbe (at) browngold (dot) com or Caroline Jackson, (301) 587-7466 caroline (dot) jackson (at) nad (dot) org.
For Immediate Release
Director of Communications
National Association of the Deaf
Email: nad (dot) info (at) nad (dot) org