By Rachel Upshaw
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed a class action lawsuit last month against the Washington Redskins and FedEx Field football stadium, claiming that the Redskins failed to provide closed-captioning for deaf and hearing-impaired fans at FedEx Field, 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.
The complaint was filed with the United States District Court for the District of Maryland by three fans from Maryland who regularly attend Redskins home games.
Shane Feldman, one of the fans, said: “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.”
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 the Washington Post, NFL teams are not required by law to offer closed-captioning in the stadium, however, the Redskins had previously worked with Feldman in an attempt to rectify the problem.
Feldman decided to take legal action once discussions broke off after he rejected a proposed solution due to his concern with a possible 10-minute equipment delay.
Also reported in the Post, Joseph B. Espo, a professor at the University of Maryland Law School who is also involved in the case, says a growing number of universities are captioning games on their stadium JumboTrons.
According to the Washington Post, that is the solution Paul Singleton, another fan part of the lawsuit, wants to see. “If the University of Texas Longhorns can show captions on their JumboTron TV, then the FedEx stadium can, too,” he said.