By MATP Staff Member M. Catherine McAdam
This blog is supposed to be about AT, and you will find some AT info sprinkled in and you’ll be reading about baseball; it’s not a blog about baseball. It’s really a blog about attitudes, perceptions and biases.
Even before learning about adaptive technology I’ve been a big baseball fan. I’ll start by telling you that the AtBat app is very accessible for those of us who love the game of baseball! Also, Toronto actually carries sports that are often video described, an interest for the American team play offs!
So what’s this about bias? Have you heard of Jessica Mendosa? I was thrilled to hear this woman announcer broadcasting one of the wild card games on TV: ESPN. Using my accessible twitter program, the qube accessible twitter, I found this article about Jessica Mendoza.
I first heard Suzyn Waldman, on a radio broadcast of a Yankee’s game, but hearing women announcers for baseball is indeed a rare occurrence.
Sadly, I was shocked at the bias against woman announcers while others, especially the women noted in this article, understood the ground breaking stance they took and proudly moved forward.
Doc Andrews, “a little person”, said he broke into sports announcing on the radio where he wasn’t “seen” then, after a long radio career, he was able to move on to TV. In Jessica’s case, bias rose up from what was heard, or maybe not heard, as her words were blocked out by bias.
If we can’t even have a woman accepted as the capable commentator she is, how do we breach the disability biases still prevalent today? Doc Andrews and Jesica might say, one person at a time!
So maybe my take away is that all the best assistive technology only starts a process. We must be open to see and hear beyond gender disabilities and so many other differences, weather using assistive technology or not.
So, sports fans, what do you think?
Catherine, here’s my take. Since I’m a guy, this may sound biased but I can assure you that I am not. Gone are the days where sports announcers learn the trade in college. Most announcers today are former players. Even the long-time announcers that never played the sports cannot truly understand what its like to train, live, and learn as a team with the pros and from the pros. We can say the same thing about people with disabilities. Unless you have one, you cannot fully understand what its like living with a disability. I feel my wife (spouse of a person with hearing loss) understands it more than the typical person, but there are some things that she will never understand. I feel the same for sports. If the announcer has played the sport, at least semi-professionally, then there should be no bias.