Super Bowl Accessibility

I know it’s been a little bit since the Super Bowl, but I wanted to make a blog post to see what everyone thinks about this topic. I think it ties into our talks about accessibility!

During the Super Bowl, Marlee Matlin was signing the National Anthem as Lady Gaga sang. She’s done this in years past, but I felt like this year I actually heard people hyping it up. The broadcast started by showing her for a brief moment, but never again returning to her, instead only showing Lady Gaga singing. This meant that although they had someone (and someone considerably famous) signing the song, D/deaf people watching at home never actually saw her. Apparently, they showed her signing in a small bubble on the screen in the actual stadium, but never showed her for the television broadcast. What does this mean in terms of accessibility? In class, we talked about accessibility being a priority and in some ways, there was a step being taken to make this part of the Super Bowl accessible, but there is a difference between the thought of doing something and actually doing it.¬†What does it say about the importance of accessibility to the NFL and CBS if they do not show someone signing on national television during such a huge event? Is it enough to know that she is signing for any D/deaf people in the stadium? I feel like CBS and the NFL take the step to have an ASL interpreter there is important, but it would be even more groundbreaking to actually show someone signing on national television rather than just mention it and show Marlee Matlin for a brief moment, then never show her again. If they had showed her, it might’ve set a kind of precedent, but instead it made accessibility seem like an afterthought and a kind of appeasement.