Deaf Buckeyes Fan Sues To Get Stadium Captions

This is hardly an earth-shattering thing to say but we’re in favor of equality for all sports fans. That’s not to say that, say, Missouri Tigers fans are equally valid people as, say, Kansas Jayhawks fans - that’d be ludicrous. Rather, we think that anyone with the money for a ticket should be able to attend a sporting event if they so choose. We’re populist like that.

Ohio State Buckeyes

(”Hey, I can’t hear what the PA is saying!”)

That means we’re all for things like wheelchair ramps and seating, elevators, and handicap-accessible bathrooms. We’re in favor of paratransit to and from games. We’d even throw our support behind something like gluten-free options at concession stands. But we’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and we think we’ve found it. A hearing-impaired Ohio State fan is suing the university to force them to provide closed captioning of sporting events on video and score boards. We’d yell at him about this but…well, you know.

Consider, for a moment, the modern college sports experience. High-definition video boards carry replays of every play. Statistics on everything from QB rating to player tackles are displayed on scoreboards. But the one thing that people are there to see, football teams running football plays on a football field, is still front and center for anyone with a functioning pair of eyes. However, according to OHIO.COM, that isn’t enough for at least one fan:

‘When I go to a game, I’m never able to follow the game,” said Vincent Sabino, 32, of Hilliard. ”It takes away from being a fan. It’s a game experience thing.”

The lawsuit was filed late last month in federal court in Columbus by the National Association of the Deaf in Silver Spring, Md. The suit says the university is violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by not providing captioning at all its venues, including Ohio Stadium, Schottenstein Center and St. John Arena.

You can’t follow a game without closed captioning? You follow a game with your eyes, bud, not your ears. Incredulous dismissal of Sabino’s claim by a snarky blogger aside, the Americans With Disabilities Act requires that venues make “reasonable” accommodations for fans. The aforementioned game and scoreboard is surely plenty reasonable for anyone whose motives are pure.

Hell, have you ever attended a college football game? Most of the time, the announcers and referees are drowned out by tens of thousands of raucous, drunken fans anyway. Even people whose ears work fine have a hard time hearing things at games. Hey wait…having a hard time hearing things? Maybe hearing fans have a case, too. How much money could we make, anyways? Vincent, call write us and let us know!