Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mandated Philanthropy

The title here does not refer to the recently enacted bailout bill nor to last night's debate between McCain and Obama. Instead, this title refers to a court ruling ordering the Washington Redskins to provide captions for the hearing impaired available for all the games at FedEx Field. Excerpt from this October 3, 2008 article in the Washington Post:
A federal judge in Greenbelt has ruled that the Redskins must continue to run captioned play-by-play at FedEx Field and begin showing the lyrics of songs played in the stadium to offer deaf and hard-of-hearing fans the full game experience.

The decision mandates that the team do much of what it began doing voluntarily after being sued. The ruling appears to be the first of its kind in the country, and advocates for the deaf and hard-of-hearing said it could lead to challenges at sporting venues around the country....


The ruling requires that deaf fans also be treated to the lyrics, spelled out on the screens, of such tunes as "Who Let the Dogs Out" in all its repetitive resonance.

U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. ruled Tuesday that under the Americans With Disabilities Act the Redskins captioning was not optional but required. He said the team had made "what appears to be have been reasonable efforts" to accommodate the hearing-impaired but that the additional steps were needed....


The judge did not say precisely how equal access should be provided at FedEx Field but noted that the plaintiffs would not be aided by the assisted listening devices the stadium has long provided to patrons who request one.


In an interview, Redskins General Counsel David Donovan said the team would begin looking for ways to address the judge's remaining concern that deaf fans be able to read the lyrics of music used during cheerleader dance routines....
Because my husband is hard of hearing, completely deaf in one ear and substantially compromised in the other, I pay attention to stories related to deafness and accommodations for those hard of hearing. No doubt, compromised hearing does reduce one's ability to function and to enjoy certain activities. Indeed, my husband's handicap automatically precludes his enjoyment of crowded parties. Must the hosts of the parties we attend also provide captioning? Give me a break!

In my view, the Americans With Disabilities Act is being carried too far. The judge's ruling in the above case is but one example of how ludicrous our courts have become.

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posted by Always On Watch @ 10/08/2008 07:02:00 AM